rock paper scissors crayons

It’s Friday night here in the UK and I’m pretty sure, as happens every weekend, that some of you will be waiting for that ‘certain someone’ to call/text/email about the possibility of making arrangements. Some of you by the time you read this will have ended up making last minute plans and have been on tenterhooks all week watching your phone etc for ‘The Big Invite’ and some of you will end up sorely disappointed either because you don’t hear from them or because when you do, it’s at some obscene hour or they behave like a twit.

Here’s the thing: When you wait around for someone to ask you out and you put yourself on layaway so that you can be available should they see fit to ‘make contact’ and dignify you with their presence, you inadvertently communicate that not only do they not have to value your time or even you as a person, but that you’re an option. An option I might add, that could do with filling up their life with better pastimes than being or Dial-a-Lay.

The weekend thing is just one example of many where you communicate that you’re OK with being an option. Here’s a few more:

No matter how many times they reject you or the relationship, you’re up for another sequel – A Nightmare on Relationship Street #135

You say you’ll ‘wait’ even when they tell you not to.

They say they don’t want to commit and want to keep things casual and you play the ‘long game’ so that if they spontaneously combust into being available, you’ll be ready to ‘step in’.

They’re dating/sleeping with others and even though it makes you feel like crap, you stick around.

You sit at the round table in their harem, fawning over them and competing for their attention.

They say “You know where I am if you change your mind” after you told them to take a run and jump because they’re attached/otherwise unavailable/a dipstick.

You play The Good Girl/Guy and suckerdart yourself to them as Friend of the Year post breakup so they can recognise your greatness, validate you, and hopefully see the error of their ways – they think “Hmmm, looks like they’re OK with being tapped up for a shag from time to time”.

They can call you up at any time of night and sextext with you or arrange to hook up.

No matter how much time has passed and no matter how flimsy or bad the history, they can come back. Don’t believe me? Just ask many of the people who get caught out by the Returning Childhood ‘Sweetheart’.

You’re hanging around waiting for them to break up with their new partner so you can pick up where you left off.

You let your ex call you up for an ego stroke or to bitch about their current relationship. They think “Hmmm…well at least I know that if things don’t work out, I’ve got X to fall back on”.

They show or tell you that they’re not over their ex or ready for a relationship and you keep pumping up your emotional airbag and buffering them.

You communicate “I know you think you can do better but when you discover that you can’t, I’ll be right here waiting for you”.

They tell you that they’re married/have a partner after they’ve been acting like they’re single and you don’t so much as flinch – they then know that you’re likely up for playing the third wheel.

You keep hanging around trying to convince them that they should be with you and demanding that they love you.

You’re still talking to them and making room for them in your life no matter how poorly they’ve treated you.

When you allow yourself to be an ‘option’, you hang around letting them use you up with a possibility of being ‘chosen’ while often committing yourself to the idea that they’re your only option.

You’re giving them freedom and the right to ‘choose’ you while curtailing your own freedom and diminishing your self-esteem and your boundaries in the process which removes your power and creates a greatly imbalanced ‘relationship’. Instead of being in an equitable, mutual partnering, you hand over all of your power and then lay down and let a doormat sprout from you.

Being an option gives other people the option of directing your life, even if they don’t want to.

In business, options exist to provide the right to buy or sell something within a specified timeframe at a set price. In relationships where people make ‘deals’ but often don’t have deal breakers , if you’re allowing yourself to be an ‘option’, it’s like putting a deal on the table even though the person has backed out, isn’t interested, or is not an appropriate relationship partner to make a mutually fulfilling relationship deal with.

You’re giving them the choice of keeping you in their back pocket for a rainy day emotional airbag to fallback on for an ego stroke, shag or a shoulder to lean on.

You’re also communicating that you’re OK with being a choice – there are other options – which allows them to keep their options open. But more worryingly, when you allow yourself to be an option, you communicate that they don’t have to choose, they don’t have to value you and they are free to reject you and pick up again when they feel like it.

Being an option means you’re uncommitted and they’re uncommitted.

It also means that you’re prevented from having the choice to be available for an available relationship because being someone’s option shuts you off to other opportunities. Don’t believe me? If you’ve ever tried to date while being an option for someone, you’ll have struggled to be emotionally present and correct because you’re unavailable and into the person you’ve optioned yourself to.

You’ll never be able to move on with your life, feel a sense of personal contentment and forge a happier, mutually fulfilling relationship with someone that values you, if you’re option for someone else that doesn’t or only values you for what they can get out of you on their terms.

You’re not someone they can call up last minute and squeeze into their oh so hectic life. You’re someone to be made plans with and to co-pilot a relationship and a future with. They’re either in, or they’re out – don’t give them the option to flit between or dip their pinky toe in.

Never allow someone to reject you (directly or indirectly) more than twice.

I’d say once, but I’m all too aware how people are obsessed with second chances. But three times and beyond – it’s time to get off the relationship crack.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebooks the No Contact Rule and Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl and more in my bookshop.

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219 Responses to Why You’re Nobody’s ‘Option’

  1. sandra says:

    There must be some cosmic connection between the blogs you post and my life. I went NC with someone and 3 months to the DAY I got put on a project with him at work. Worse, I immediately started back on the points you discussed above, especially the “convincing” him how great I am and I am around, him complaining about his relationships and oh yes…!! This was just the jolt I needed because my subconscious has been screaming at me for days to not go back and now I read this and it is just what I need.

  2. karen arthur says:

    just reading these words makes me feel more empowered. i recognise so much about some relationships, mine and others. i’m hopeful that i’m strong enough to make the right choices FOR ME when i finally get going.
    k x

  3. Flower White says:

    Hi Nat. I’m almost one year voluntarily celibate longest time in adult dating life that I’ve gone without a boyfriend/fiancee/lover. Many men have stepped up to the plate and they have not succeed in being vetted. I’ve even deleted all of my online dating profiles. I’d rather have peace alone than stress with the wrong man.

    To all the ladies “wasting time” with Mr.Wrongs, Assclowns, Future Fakers,etc. -sorry, strong choice of words to some, and to me totally apt-get off the toxic merry-go-round. You’ll just be older and not much wiser!

    Yesterday I have deleted ALL of my toxic Facebook ‘girlfriends’ who used me has a fake-therapist complaining about their men yet they chose to stay with him. For YEARS and years. Yes they are not married! All 45+, educated, smart, beautiful women!!

    I applaud Nat for her service and patience. I’ve read this whole blog she’s is a saint. Today I feel FREE! No lame chicks dissing their man that game is so tied and toxic!

  4. ms.option says:

    This is me,me,me. I am sitting here sad and miserable because my mm has ignored me all week, except for 1 text 2 days ago,in response to my why haven’t I heard from you? I have been his option for over a year. A year ago he disappeared on me after telling me he was ready to move out and move in with me the night before. I did not hear from him for 5 mos. He ignored every plea for a response. It was awful. Then I was finally getting a little better starting to date and I get a call from him. He had put his wife out 2 days before and pleaded for another chance with me. That was back in Dec. he took her back after 4 days. He has put her out and took her back about 4 or 5 times since then. And he is perfectly justified in it, everyone tells him to get away from her. But he can’t do it. Yet he tells me he wants a future with me and all he can think about is doing the everyday things with me. But he blows hot and cold on me over and over. A couple of weeks ago I told him I was walking away. And he said he was down on his knees begging me not to give up on him, that he would send me a pic of him on his knees. That we were going to have a future together and he would be lost without me. I caved and now here I sit alone and miserable wondering why he has ignored me all week.

    • grace says:

      ms option
      I am going to say this as simply as I can because I feel the confusion and bewilderment in your words:

      He has ignored your for a week because he is married.

      • Sunshine says:

        AND he is an assclown. FLUSH.
        Those guys have some kind of radar for knowing when we are getting on with our lives and being fine and dandy without them, they feed off of us and are energetic vampires sucking us dry, and when they feel their supply start to wane, BAM, they come back to sink a new nasty barbed hook in our hearts…
        The only future you will have with this guy is more pain.
        Go NC, stay NC…flush flush FLUSH.

        • Beth D says:

          Love the flush thing!!! Hardest thing for me was when I was moving on the attempts got more frequent. I finally told him in a text point blank it was over. He told me not even as friends? Our friendship means everything to me. I said not even as anything!! This is my decision and I expect you to respect it!! No explanations, no good bye letters..,been there done that. I was just done with the whole roller coaster. Flush!! Love it…Never felt better and finally broke the stupid spell I was under.

    • susie sunflower says:

      Hi Ms.Option.

      Good nickname by the way, because i don’t wish to be cruel, but that is what you are, and that is what you are going to stay.

      The man is married, whether he has children or not is by the by, he is playing you, and you are letting him. Very, very rarely do married men leave their wives for their lovers, and even if they did, how on earth can they be trusted not to do the self same thing they have done to their wife to you?

      You are probably a lovely, trusting person and unfortunately being future faked. How do i know, because i have been there. My ex was not married, we were both widowed but whereas i was looking for stability in my love life, he was finding out, behind my back, that now he was widowed he could be a player of the 1st degree. It took me 3 years to find that little gem out. I often wonder if he had a harem on the side whilst he was with me anyway, although he denied it when i asked him outright. But this is what liars and cheats do.

      It is a year since we split, i have been out on many dates with other men, but i have come to the conclusion i am ok on my own. If i do meet someone who reallywants me for me, i will never be an option.

    • Umi says:

      Ms Option,
      re-read what you have written. Here is a man giving you nothing but dregs of his life when he feels like it. Honestly just stop drinking poison and get your life back.

  5. Magnolia says:

    Hear, hear. And I think it’s important to mention that even if they have the most important/crazy job in the world, and have to juggle to schedule you into a busy life, when you’re not an option, you get scheduled in FIRST, at least most of the time.

    When you are a priority, a busy person will acknowledge it when they need you to accommodate their schedule. They’ll also work with you to accommodate yours – without a mini-pout session! When you’re an option, they put everything else on the calendar, then call you up when they want to fill-in-their-blanks. No thanks.

    • MissE says:

      You are so right Magnolia! People make time for the things that are important to them…no matter how busy they are. It’s understandable that once in a while you may need to reschedule a date or something, but if that is the genuine case and you are important, that person will inform you as soon as they know and also make plans to reschedule! They don’t just cancel at the last second, stand you up or for days, weeks and months then not say anything about it.

      When you’re important for someone they make time for you and will arrange their schedule so that they can fit you in among the top priorities and not as a space filler as you said. They are also reliable and consistent in their actions toward you and not full of empty promises, blowing hot and cold and disappearing.

  6. Kay says:

    I sometimes wish your blogs could reach into the high schools or colleges so girls could somehow get this understanding sooner! Learning these things would keep them – and people like me – from making mistake after mistake after mistake, and being tolerant of that which should not be tolerated. How willing many of us are to be “options.” I have, hoping the guy would come around. But they never do. As I have recently left a relationship with a by-the-book emotionally unavailable man – a “nice” and charming one, LOL – these blogs are getting me in a good mental space to reach higher and reach deeper next time around. I appreciate it so very much.

    Best of all – the best takeaway I’ve had is the word “assclown.” I love it! It makes me grin every time I think of it in the context of ass clowns I’ve been with – and gives me the courage to keep the past in the past. It’s not harsh like “assh**e” or as dumb as the American “asshat.” I’ve used the No Contact E mails keeping my distance from this guy – 3 weeks now! – and feel much better because of it.

    • Ria says:

      Actually it would be best to get an education manual by NML printed (school version) and l am imagining the hords of men hating to get busted of their AC manners:)

  7. Audra says:

    my lord…you spying on me? LOL I finally told my ‘friend’ to take a hike. he always knew just what to say, how to say it and when to say it. then after months of me confiding in him, he told me we weren’t close and that I was annoying. I was caught so off guard. Then he back tracks and tells me I wasn’t annoying all the time. LOL then in December he really built me up then dropped me after one last ‘shag’ but wanted to be ‘friends’. I snapped and told him he was a master manipulator and all talk and no substance. No contact for almost 6 months. I see him everywhere but don’t talk to him. I’ve realized I miss the idea of him, not him. all of that flip flopping and double talk – had enough.

  8. Natasha says:

    No matter how many times they reject you or the relationship, you’re up for another sequel – A Nightmare on Relationship Street #135

    Errrrr, guilty! The irony of it is that I would be idignant that I was being treated poorly by said guy, based upon the fact that I “didn’t do things like accept last minute dates.” Yes, thats is an actual quote from Natasha’s Book of Delusions, 2006-2011 Edition. Fact is for us recovering boomerang addicts, whatever you tell yourself, you KNOW that you’re an option, no matter what they are saying/future faking/blowing out at 300 degrees. In my case, I knew in my heart of hearts I was, even though I was getting promised the sun, moon and parental meetings all of a sudden. My voice of reason was like, “This makes no sense. Therefor, it’s going to end poorly.”, but my voice of delusional optimism was all, “Stop being negative. People can change! Maybe he realized how much he likes you!” Natalie, without this blog, I’d probably have found another EUM/AC and been a Fallback Girl for many more fruitless years, so thank you!!

  9. Charlotte says:

    Damn straight!! I am NOT an option. It angers me that my MM asked me to wait around on him to “transition” out of his marriage for 5 years. But more than that, I angers me that I put myself through all that pain, craziness, ups and downs…got emotionally attached to him and the future faking fairy tales and now must go through the recovery process.

    Never, ever again.

    My MM said to me in mock shock and as if he were offended, “It sounds like you’re saying that I must be with you fully or not at all!” Back then I crawfished. Didn’t want to seem mean and lacking compassion for his “situation”. (Plus I feared him choosing the later.)

    But today, that’s exactly what I’m saying. Confidently. Be with me fully or get to steppin’!

    • Charlotte says:

      Oh and my MM…yep, my childhood sweetheart. Classic.

      • Ria says:

        you know what – the day he says – ok l will be fully yours, you dont want him, because the man who has put you through so much compromizes and disrespect is not worth it.

        • Charlotte says:

          That’s probably true because after I broke it off with him, I used to fantasize that he was just getting his life in order and was going to come back so he could be with me, I knew that I would definitely not want to just jump back into his arms and ride off into the sunset and that I’d probably tell him, “Let’s start with friendship and see how that goes.” And it was because of all the hurt, anger, pain and mistrust.

          I think now, in hindsight, that once you cross that line with someone that you’ve ruined any chance of a future together.

          What’s funny is that it has been almost 9 months since I broke it off with him and I STILL think about him (though it’s definitely dissipated), but I don’t want him. I think there will come a day though when I no longer think about him or the time we had together.

          • Ria says:

            I´d be very cautious of men who *has to sort their life issues out, before they can have relationship with you.* I am pretty sure, this is another excuse to hold us around as long as they can get away with it, play for symphathy card etc. Of course everyone has life issues and problems to solve, but thats life and if a man is honest with his partner and truly wants to have future, there wont be *i will sort out my life before l can have life with you, but meanwhile, while lm at it, l dont mind if you give me the cake.*
            At the end of the day you dont want to reunite with Hamlet who is all about to be or not to be, just for the name of chemistry . (and yes, l missed him too, even longer than you).

  10. Emily says:

    Natalie – you’re a genius. All of your posts and blogs are so timely; helpful; and therapeutic. I’m now. Today is 5 months NC and my head is finally clearing with the help of your posts and therapy. As part of my “get real” attitude, I decided to read through all my past journals (which I have kept over the years for 30 years). I wanted to cry at how many journal entries started with… “he hasn’t called in 3 days”… “it’s been a week since we talked but the last time we were together he said ‘the possibilities with us were endless'”…. “I’m never doing this again where I wait on men” (and then 2 entries later… ).. “I haven’t heard from him since we had sex”.

    I’m realizing I need to 1) pick very different guys, and 2) wait to see their “truth” unfold over time and lots of actual behaviors to back up their words. Many years ago I flew across the US for someone who was filled with future faking (“I love you and want to marry you… you are the soul connection my heart always longed for”)… over a course of 12 days. I’m realizing now that I want the fantasy and “magic zha zha zhu feelings” .. when in reality those are just pixie dust with nothing substantial behind them. I know I have a lot of work on myself ahead of me and I’m quite EU myself. I’m learning I can get those “feelings” — but the true “feelings” develop over a long period of time of trust, mutual love, care, respect which will fuel an emotional intimacy I’ve never known. I’m hoping one day I’ll get there.

    Hugs to you — saw one of your videos — you are awesome, and I hope you do more. Thanks for all the emotional lives you saving daily.

  11. Melly says:

    I agree that reading the words makes me feel more empowered. It is nice to know that in many of the situations, I am not alone. Plus, it’s good knowing that stopping the toxic situation will not leave me alone forever. In fact, it will open me up to a loving, nurturing situation.

    I’ve gone back to the bad behavior many many times. Finally, I’m breaking the pattern and moving on. Recently, I’ve stopped it. I will continue reading because he and I live together and I NEED STRENGTH. I’m just happy that there is a place to go for support and really good advice.

  12. Magdalena says:

    Its amazing how when you stop being someone’s option, you find that you actually have other options.


  13. Jennie says:

    “Return of the Childhood Sweetheart”! Ah yes, that old one. You are so right Nat, it’s much more common than anyone who has never experienced it would ever believe.

  14. Alysse says:

    You rock, Nat! You get right to the heart of things..just what I need to hear. Thanks!

  15. grace says:

    Oh yes, this is the hallmark of the FB girl. I don’t care how good looking, charming, handsome, rich, sexy he is, no one is worth waiting for. No-one. Underneath all of that, he’s just another human being and NO BETTER than us. So stop taking second place. (But for a lot of us, second place would be a promotion!)
    And I don’t care how much you love him either! Still not worth it.
    A quick shout out to Mag – I hear your sister got engaged and you were asking how come? When I read through your list of her qualities “selfish” stood out. I think a lot of us could do with a healthy dose of “selfish”. I jokingly told a friend of mine that she was “spoilt” for expecting her husband to buy her expensive gifts. Without batting an eyelid she said “But I deserve it, I’m the mother of his children”.
    Forget diamonds, they’re not important but you deserve to be a priority.
    I absolutely agree with the rejection point – once IS enough. Unfortunately, if you give them a second chance, it starts to become a habit.

  16. Cindy says:

    “dip their pinky toe in” Bahhaha! This is almost the same exact words I used to tell off my exEUM who wouldn’t just dive in, except my words weren’t so nice. 😉

    He was never “ready” to talk about things. Before I knew it, two years had passed and I found myself in a friends with benefits situation. He left half of his life a mystery. Lord only knows why. It took two months of No Contact to “break the spell”.

    Really, girls, when you break whatever spell these men have over you, then you finally see how truly pathetic these guys are and how truly strong & valuable you are.

    • Laine says:

      Did he leave half his life a mystery? Ask yourself why you were willing to become emotionally involved and invested in a man you didn’t fully know? Thats the key.

  17. MissE says:

    Love this:

    “Never allow someone to reject you (directly or indirectly) more than twice.”

    That is the new rule I am going to live by. I am NOBODY’S option, unless we both agree to be each other’s options and I will not allow someone to reject me more than twice and stick around. The ambiguous, non-relationship, I recently recognized and ended was wrought with frequent indirect rejections. Of course, with them being indirect it was a perfect environment for me to go into convincing mode, rationalizing, justifying and trying to see why he never made dates, why he could never make it to anything I invited him to, why he stood me up etc. Now that I actually say it out loud and remember everything, it was blatantly obvious that I was an option for him and he was not interested in moving the relationship forward but at the time I accepted the rejections (even when I argued with him about it). It made no sense to argue about it as clearly I still stuck around, convincing and trying to show him my worth hoping that “of his own free will” he’d decide to choose me fully. Ridiculous and no more!

    In the same way that I go the extra mile and make it apparent when I am interested, I need a man who will do the same. If I am questioning his interest and if he has directly rejected me once and indirectly rejected me even once or twice…that’s it. Goodbye sir. None of these people are that great and I have far too much to offer and do besides waiting around for a not-so-great person to choose me as his priority.

    • june2011 says:

      “The ambiguous relationship”. Yes there are a few of those aren’t there? I thought I was with someone but when I look back, I wasn’t even sure we were dating.

      When I pulled them up it was like “oh, I think its not feasible and we should be friends with hug benefits”.

      After ALL that time and effort… it got downgraded to nothingness and I ended it.

  18. runnergirl says:

    Oh dear, I’m cringing a thousand cringes for every weekend for the past two years. or Dial-a Lay…oh dear lord that was me and I cooked dinner to boot. I feel like I need to go cry again for what I did to myself.

    On the upside after 6 months of BR, I’m no longer on layaway this weekend as well as any weekend in the foreseeable future.

    Natalie, you are a saint. This post spoke to me and made me cry for me. Thank you. I can identify with every sentence. It so sticks in my craw that I was just an option for him and he was a priority for me. God dammit. Back through the anger stage of grief for me. I’m grateful, although probably not making much sense because this so struck home. God dammit. Oh how I hate thinking that I’ve communicated that I was an option. But I did. Arrggghh. Being an OW so totally sucked.

    • Cam says:

      RG: What would suck is if you were still there. The other side has regrets but a lot less pain.

      Natalie: I too cringed when reading this. This was me for so many months. I thought he’d “see the light”. It was me that needed the illumination. I look back at the storm clouds behind me and sigh. Thank you for reminding me all of the time about the place that I am never returning to. Thank you. Thank you.

    • Fearless says:

      I remember the runnergirl who first started posting here and I want you to appreciate how different your outlook is now and how far you have come!

      Before I found BR I thought I was going crazy – I was desperate, frustrated, depressed and very angry (with what I hardly knew) I confided in no-one the confusion and powerlessness I felt. I didn’t know anyone who would ‘understand’ or be able to help me unravel the whole thing.

      Long story, short version : I recall having a snog with a guy I ‘fancied’ one night. This ‘snog’ came out in a conversation with my Mr EU… he started pouting about it (by text of course); telling me that ‘I had obviously made my choice’ (was dumping me basically)and he would be ‘sorting himself out’ very soon and ‘ would meet someone else’ blah blah….’ I was furious that HE was talking about my “choices” and told him back (by text of course) that I HAD chosen HIM and that it was HIM who had the choices here -not ME – that he had perpetually rejected me as a ‘choice’ and now he talks to me about MY choices! I had been involved with him for about five years at this point! And he had treated me as an option the whole time (and yes, I had treated myself as an option FOR him too).

      This article of Nat’s has my name written all over it!

      Yes, runnergirl – what the hell was going on in our heads!! But I have a few friends who are in these crappy involvements and who cannot see the wood for the trees… and I find it hard to get through to them. At least now we see the light; thousand of women never do, ever. Do we all just have to come to it in our own good time, or never?

      My justification for my ‘option status’ with Mr EUwas that if there was anytting else on offer I wouldn’t be interested in the Mr EU… that there’s not a queue of men at my door that I was beating off with a stick. When I got that he was never/unlikely going to offfer me anything more I convinced myself, somehow, that I was just passing the time… and what else was I doing anyway – E.g. if my EU suggested doing something with me on any given day, my reasoning was: well why not, it’s not as if I have anything else planned – and that mindset was very hard to break – even now I would find it hard not to come to that reasoning. So maybe, Nat, an article on the lines of – “I’m not doing anything else tonight anyway” and why…

      • runnergirl says:

        Thank you Fearless and thank god for BR or I don’t know where I’d be right now. I cannot believe it. I used the exact same justification for allowing myself to be an option. “…well why not, it’s not as if I have anything else planned” because I didn’t. And I pretended I was “just passing time” as well waiting for the “right” alpha male AC to come along. I wonder if this is a common way to justify being an option?

        Yours sounds like a real prize. Now when you look back on your “choices” text-fight, you did have choices didn’t you? This was a painful article and looking back is painful as well. I remember during one text fight, I told him I felt like his blow-up doll. I was!

        Side note: I know texting is lazy communication but I much prefered text-fighting to the real thing because I could get something done in between angry texts and not waste the whole day or evening….he, he, he!

        And Leigh, good for you.

        • Leigh says:


          If it’s any consolation I used to justify the waiting and being an option, too.

          It’s taken me a long time to get to the place where I don’t think of myself as an option or let the men around me create drama by manipulative tactics, acceptance of outright cruelty as a normal behaviour pattern or entering into a text type relationship.

          What helped me go forward was seeing the exMM in exactly the light that he is. A light and energy thief. A man with no moral code only one the justifies his actions. A total complete and utter liar who disrespects his family and wife.

          That’s the bottom line.

          I cried me a river of grief, of sadness and nearly fell totally apart

          I was so very very angry for a very very long time – at him and at myself.

          I’m over that now, mostly. I still get angry from time to time but I’m in a better place to deal with it and let it go. The less drama and anxiety that’s in your life (that happens when you’re in LT NC) the better it all starts to feel. Never forget, you are better than an option!

        • Fearless says:

          Yes runner. I did have options- but it was easier to blame him! I suppose we are so busy keeping his options open for him that we forget (or ignore) that we have options of our own – main one being to OPT OUT! I think, ironically, we are unwilling to use our ‘opt out’ option because that would leave him with no options and if we leave him with no options that means we never get to be the option he choses!

          • runnergirl says:

            Leigh, your words are so comforting particularly after what you’ve been through with the ex husband and the exMM. They are light and energy thieves. I’d ask why they think they can flit around and steal our light and energy but, of course, I know the answer. Because we used to let them. I’m still crying a grief of river for allowing me to be used as his option. I’m probably at the sadness stage but the anger pops up every now and again as well. Mostly now, it’s just sadness. I’m looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel and I’m taking it on faith because you all say that it will get better. Natalie, this post affected me like no other post and made me get real, really real. Thank you. But crap, it is PAINFULL. I miss him. I hate him. I love him. But for the first time ever, I miss me and love me. For the first time, there is a ME.

          • runnergirl says:

            Fearless, you are so good. I couldn’t opt out because I was so sure that I could convince him to opt in because as Magnolia said “Im superduper”. What’s not to like? When he wouldn’t opt in, I blamed him. The only option I could see at the time was to force him to opt in. I could not see my OPT OUT button or I didn’t want to face it because then it would be over. Frig, I still don’t want to accept that it’s over, I was just an option, and a booty call that cooked dinner. But, the hokey pokey dance is just too exhausting, humilating, and degrading. Oh dear lord, if that hokey pokey song sticks in my head again, I’m going to jump. Maybe there’s a reason why that cute little song won’t go away. I’ll be googling Bonanza in the morning. Put your right foot in…

          • Gina says:


            I understand what you are saying. For me, I did realize that I was an option until by “gut instinct” kept nagging me to start asking lots of questions. The answers that I received revealed that at some point along the way, he stopped seeing me as a future prospect and started seeing me as someone to be with in the moment. I felt both hurt and angry (when was he planning on telling me that we were traveling towards the future on two different trains? When was he going to tell me that he’d gotten off of the train that we’d both been transferred to another one??)

            Once I found out the truth: that I was only his option whilst I was making him my priority, I broke up with him, cried in his arms, and walked my rejected and heartbroken azz away from that relationship. As deeply as it hurt me, I knew that I had to go into self-preservation mode and look after myself. I’ve been N.C. for the past four months. He contacted me recently, via email to ask how I was doing and to return some of clothes . My heart wanted to believe that he was doing it because he was genuinely concerned about me as a person. My mind screamed: DANGER!! Things aren’t going so well with him romantically, so he’s coming back to ‘Old Faithful’ for an ego boost, and perhaps a shag. I told my foolish heart -(love that Foreigner song!) to shut up, listened to my mind, and remained N.C. I had him drop the clothes off at his ex-wife’s house – she and I got along well – and I picked them up later).

            We have to be our own best friends and OPT OUT when a relationship isn’t working out in our best interest.

      • MissE says:

        Fearless, I think that the rationale that you’re not doing anything anyway doesn’t fly in these situations, as think about it…how many times do you turn it down? If you NEVER turn it down or accept more than you turn it down or magically NEVER have anything better to do, it shows that it’s not simply a matter of “What the heck why not..” but a matter of “Hell yes! I thought you’d never ask!” These ppl are a priority for us & we’re metaphorically waitng by the phone for them.

        For me, even when I DID have better things to do or pre-made plans w/ friends, I would weasel my way out if some unavailable clown called me up at the last second!I did have better things to do, but was so glad that this person that I prioritized & whom I wanted to prioritize & value me called, that I gladly threw other plans out the window& would rationalize it by saying: “I didn’t really want to go to dinner w/ the girls that much anyway” or “I see them all the time, and I hardly see him, it’ll be worth it, they’ll understand”…how ridiculous esp. since my friends MAKE time for me that’s why I see them all the time and this person does not because he CHOOSES not to!

        I think there are situations in which both people can genuinely be options for the other, where you BOTH can take it or leave it and do take it or leave it sometimes. I’ve been in that scenario where the guy was cool, he was an option for me & if he asked to hang out there were times I just wasn’t feeling it & said no thanks without a second thought, even if I wasn’t busy. Why could I do that?It’s because he wasn’t on a pedestal & I wasn’t on crack w/ him & could therefore put my actual feelings first & have an actual strong inclination to do what’s best for myself versus always being ready to say yes. Even w/ friends, sometimes they call me up & while sometimes I don’t have plans so I agree to hang out, sometimes I don’t have plans & STILL take a rain check, ’cause I don’t feel like it. How comes it’s like we’re never willing to take a rain check w/ EUMs/ACs and ALWAYS feel like it?I think it’s bc they are a priority & also bc their actions show that they are inconsistent, unreliable and we are options, so we feel like we hit the lottery when they do reach out or like it’s some solar eclipse that happens once in a blue moon so we have to capitalize on it because we never know…

        • Fearless says:

          Miss E.
          Thanks for your thoughts. And bizzarely I totally agree! Which sounds like a contradiction but I think the whole involvement with the EU goes through all kinds of warped reasonings… you are spot on that we want to capitalize on the opportunity to see him cos we don’t know when we will get another – and yes, absolutely, there is NO WAY we are turning it down no matter what else is planned, so yes I agree totally – that is exactly my experience. My sister used to say to me ‘I hate the way you jump every time he decides to show up’ and I’d be thinking, yea I do that, but if I don’t see him today when the offer’s on I might not see him for another two momths!! I passed up loads of social events to jump to his tune. But as time goes on, I think we become quite reclusive (it’s all relative, I know); we don’t fill up our own diary; we don’t make plans with friends; we leave everything “open”. Like, even our *time* becomes his option – even our lives become his ‘option’.

          So I think it works both ways.
          1) When he calls we drop everything else and grab the chance to be with him and hopefully give him another chance to see that he wants to be with us properly
          2)When we have nothing else planned (and more and more we do not!) we justfiy it with ‘well, I’m not doing anything else anyway… well, it’s not as if much else is happening in my life.

          Trouble is not much else will happen until we opt out.

          • Fearless says:


            don’t beat yourslef up anymore. The sad part is the grieving – … I think it’s the part that has to come before we get to ‘acceptance’. It’s crap – I know. I still can’t quite get over my total realiation that ‘he’ must have known quite clearly all along that I was waiting for him yet he had no intention at all of ever delivering. That’s a hard pill to swallow.

            Runner – this is spot on for me:
            “The only option I could see at the time was to force him to opt in. I could not see my OPT OUT button or I didn’t want to face it because then it would be over.”

            Hugs from me!

          • MissE says:

            Fearless, you are spot on! We do often end up creating that self-fulfilling prophecy of truly having nothing better to do as we consciously & subconsciously keep our schedules & calendars open “just incase”. Im sickened & shaking my head at this pathetic behavior we engage in.

            With the last EUM, I would have plans to go away for the weekend w/ friends, or my family would plan to go away for a trip & instead of being excited, part of me was thinking “But what if when I’m away he wants to hang out?” or “Do we need to spend a whole week on vacation, how about just 4 days”… ALL because I was anxious & worried about the SMALL possibility that he may ring me up…which never happened mind you! It’s so ridiculous. I remember thinking like that all the time, about everything I was doing & arranging my life in such a way that I was flexible and ready “incase”….which sadly those “incases” almost never materialized!

            Most recently, before ending things, I hadn’t heard from him in 2 weeks & he came back saying he had been on vacay in the Caribbean! He didn’t say a word to me about it! He didn’t see the big deal, said it was last minute, made excuses about why he couldn’t call before or how he was going to call at the airport, how he thought about me all the time and tons of other BS & then added that in another week he would be going away on vacation again for 2/3 weeks. I realized once and for all that I was NOT important to him in the least and there I was, foolishly waiting around, & probably would have opted not to go on my own vacation for him, while he went on his w/0 even so much as a bye. Can you also believe that I got into graduate school at an Ivy League institution and part of me had difficulty deciding to accept the offer, IN CASE he wanted to be together and wasn’t ok w/ long distance! I did end up accepting the offer though and rightly so as a few weeks before things ended he told me his plans to probably relocate to another country permanently & said it quite casually w/ NO remorse or struggle, unlike I who foolishly was struggling for a relationship I was not even in!

            Clearly something is awry with us why we’d engage this type of thing but THANK GOD for seeing the light!

          • runnergirl says:


            I’m thinking I may be done beating myself up over allowing him to treat me as an option. I clearly allowed him to come and go as he pleased as he had an “open door”. Dear god, I can’t believe I used those words but I did. Moreover, I said that “he could never wear out his welcome”. Truly. I said those words.

            I totally relate to you and Miss E’s insights as to how our time becomes his option. I did both and added a third. First since I had no plans, I’d justify his last minute suggestions with “well I’m not doing anything anyway”. Then, ever so subtly, I’ve realized now I stopped making plans so I could be available should he be able to ditch his wife at the last minute and be with me. Yuck, it is hard to admit. I think I did one more justifying act, I’d tell myself that I could date anytime because “he couldn’t object and it’s not like he’s in the way”. As I reflect back, oh how twisted my thinking was. Thank god I didn’t date some poor unsuspecting male(s) because I was so EU. But, I’d have only choosen EU’s or they’d have chosen me and the cycle would have continued. Thank god for you all and BR. There is one less EUW in the dating pool (me) and one less OW (me) contributing to the heartbreak of a wife and family. There is one MM (him) out there who is NOT having his cake and eating it too, at least with me.

            It feels so good to NOT be an option anymore. It feels so wonderful not to be on tenderhooks waiting to see if we can be together on the weekend. It feels wonderful not to wait around until Sunday at 8. This was the most helpful post ever Natalie, albeit the most painful. Thank you Fearless and others who responded. Fearless, it is a giant pill to swallow. It is frigging over. Shit!

          • EmLAW says:

            I agree…Natalie’s most powerful and painful post for me too! Not that I am counting or anything but 6 days no contact!! I am letting my self cry (and mourn) when I feel like i need to but mostly I am in a good self preservation sort of mode. I had had enough and couldn’t take anymore.

            Stay strong…you guys are/were my biggest inspiration. Look at it this way, our old fragile state allowed them to get wayyyyy more chances than most get from healthy people! I don’t know about you guys but my gut had been telling me all along I was making a mistake but I was the one choosing to ignore it.

          • Fearless says:

            Runner – I think we are getting it! EmLaw – good for you! Keep choosing you.

            I agree that this post of Nat’s is one of the hardest to ignore! If it doesn’t make you sit up and take notice, nothing will!

            This part here hit a chord with me:
            “You’re also communicating that you’re OK with being a choice – there are other options – which allows them to keep their options open. But more worryingly, when you allow yourself to be an option, you communicate that they don’t have to choose, they don’t have to value you and they are free to reject you and pick up again when they feel like it.”

            I read this a few times before it sunk in. I see now that playing the role of “option” is to tell him that you are not a one time, take it or leave it, in or out offer but by definition if there is one option it follows that there must be others. So, cos he’s not a total idiot – if he has options, he’ll keep them open. And, by definition, an option is something you do not have to choose. So long as you are optional, he never has to choose. So he doesn’t. Ah-ha! I think I get it.

            I wanted to be chosen so I made myself OPTIONAL. And in doing that I became OPTIONAL. Full stop. Nothing more. Just optional. How crap is that. I get it now.

  19. Leigh says:

    The Option Girl, that was me when I had the so called relationship with the exMM.

    When you’re involved with a MM you cannot expect to be anything but an option after the wife, the kids, the holidays, the parents and the neighbours. I knew this and I still carried on. Talk about low self esteem (at the time)!

    Truth of the matter (and this is twisted) is that I didn’t want him to leave his wife. I didn’t want a long term future with this man. As time went on I realised we were incompatible for many reasons.

    His wife had left him for another man. I told him she would return home because the man she was involved with would dump her and she would confess of her affair to my exMM. That’s exactly what happened. She went back home but he never told her he had an affair with me.

    I had already told him that he could not have two women in his life knowing full well he would chose her (and I didn’t want to be chosen or the option) . When we spoke on the phone he said we could no longer be intimate. That he wanted to be friends. I said “well I have to take this rejection as the woman I am and get on with my life.”

    I let him think he rejected me. I set it up so he could reject me. How twisted was that? After 27 years of being rejected by my exH and three years with an exMM you would think I’d have the b**s to tell them all to f**k off! I only gave him one shot at rejecting me that was it. Three years later I was rejecting him over and over when we met up for lunch/dinner/him trying to get me into bed. I said no so many times and gave him the reason: “You’re married.” He still tried to reject me by turning it around with some bullshit about his morals. I totally severed contact after I came back home.

    There is no way in a millions years I will ever let some man with major issues try to reject me or have me as an option again. To hell with handing someone my power – I deserve the best anything less than that is not good enough.

    Nat, you are so cool! Thank for reminding me never to be an option!

  20. Ali says:

    @ Cindy

    “Really, girls, when you break whatever spell these men have over you, then you finally see how truly pathetic these guys are and how truly strong & valuable you are.”
    So true and only NC can give you that. The “spell” puffs in a cloud of realisation, perspective and clarity. NC really takes the power and control back to us. Granted, it is difficult, (very painful at times – but taking it one day at a time is the best way) but life giving up anything in life, the short term pain is worth the long term gain. The word OPTION was so glaringly obvious throughout our 2 year “relationship”. Oh how great it is to be free, to be me and to have my new found knowledge – thanks Nat for another great post :)

  21. Layla says:

    I found it so hard to read this post, excruciatingly painful in fact, because I m gradually realising this is what I did for seven years with MM- I made myself an option. He acted like a single man, told me he and his wife lead ‘separate lives’, and said often he ‘would sort himself out’ and be with me truly. I fell for all the bait and I believed I had fell in love at first sight and continually made allowances for him . part of me sees I fantasized about him and I’m getting counselling for childhood sexual abuse. But even yet I hope he will wake up and contact me and it feels like an amputation not seeing him and I am ill with emotional/physical pain. I hardly go out, isolated myself for years, and cant seem to move on. I initiated NC 5 months ago and he hasn’t contacted me. The only thing I do is go on his wife’s twitter account, looking for clues as to how he is- does that count as contact ? As a child I was powerless when trauma happened but Im still feeling the same and Im 55 and Im so ashamed. I have a great counsellor though so I will hang in there

    • Charlotte says:


      Yes, the Twitter account counts. lol

      I’m not laughing AT you, but laughing because I did the same thing. Just looking for clues. I deleted my MM from my Facebook account and then went nuts because I couldn’t see what was going on with him. I would still go to his profile (which I could see nothing of because he has it set to ‘friends only’) just to see if he changed his picture. His picture hasn’t changed since the day I broke it off with him 9 months ago. I would attempt to analyze THAT…what does that mean? He always changes his picture. Does that symbolize his life has stopped? etc, etc.

      I don’t know that there’s anything I can tell you that would be like pressing the easy button. I’m still not completely over it, though it’s not as excruciatingly painful every minute of every hour. It’s like a sometimes sadness, missing him (the illusion of our ‘relationship’), and even occasionally still wanting solid effing answers.

      Keep reading everything on here that you can. It will slowly sink in and you’ll begin getting it, seeing more clearly. Focus on YOU, not him. You’re expending all this time and energy…for what!? Some dude who didn’t give you the same? Think of it in those terms and get mad! It also helps.

  22. CC says:

    I can’t lie, this post was difficult to read. I cringed thinking about every sentence that applied to my past. Every EUM that I let use me and waste my time. It was ultimately on me to break the chain. I’m thankful that the pain and anger finally reached a point that brought me to BR at a time that I could really hear the message. I did NC to prove a point at first, to say hey… “I’m a lot stronger than you think” but secretly I hoped it would make him change. But after a while NC brought clarity and I realized I don’t want “that guy”. You start to see there really is no prize there to be won, and that in and of itself has been worth gold to me. Understanding the difference between people who have values and integrity and having the ability to choose who gets to be in your life. Thanks for inciting me to take back control of my life and take back the reigns on where its going.

  23. Katie says:

    Thank you, Natalie, for writing this blog! You’ve really saved my life! :)
    I have been NC for just over a month now, and I mostly did it so I wouldn’t go back and try to be friends with him. Your NC email has helped me so much.

    But about options, I have not heard back from my long-distance Mr. Unavailable during this time, and I am fairly sure I will not, since I did most of the “leg work” during our correspondence. In one of your posts, you talk about *why* we would have feelings for someone so far away. That gave me courage to really look at myself and start building my basic self-esteem once again.

    After a few months of emails, we would talk on Skype once a week(I had to push for this, not long after a wonderful five-hour first conversation that cemented my feelings that he might be a candidate for “the one.”) He knew I was hooked, after that. I thought he was very interested–what man would talk for hours and reveal details of his life he said he told to nobody else, if he wasn’t? Oh, I didn’t really believe him when he talked about marriage and kids, but I hoped. Because we seemed to really connect.

    So then, the conversations became more general, and there were times that he either didn’t show(blaming work schedule, but not sending me a message)or that he took other phone calls while on the phone with me. Heck, I even saw that he was watching TV while talking to me. On a cell phone, that’s not so bad, but on Skype, it looks pretty bad. So I began to know that the “big secrets” conversation was really just a one time event, not how we would always be. I began to feel like his time-waster until his next meeting. I’d look forward to calling him all week, and when he got on the phone with me, it was like he couldn’t be bothered to talk very long.

    I still haven’t had the guts to unfriend him on Facebook, but he’s hidden. I haven’t looked at the profile.

    He always saw himself as “the good guy”, and talked very romantically. Ugh, I cannot believe I fell for that crap! And yet I feel I still cannot get rid of all the pictures he sent me, etc. I guess it is a process. But I am not going to call him, and get back on his list of people who are easy to talk with, and just a shoulder to cry on!

  24. RC Glasses Off says:

    Brilliant! I actually used those words to my last ex-EUM/AC “I want to be chosen”. Scary! He also told me at one point he was “considering me”. On and off I was waiting for 4 years. Rediculous! Finally after some therapy, prayer and much encouragement from this site (NC is the best) I chose me, peace, freedom, happiness and a low stress/drama life & will continue to do so!

  25. Gina says:


    I love your blog!!

    I broke up with my bf five months ago. He was a future faker, and although he treated me well, and we had a healthy relationship, I found out that he still had strong feelings for his ex gf who had dumped him three years (theirs was an unhealthy and toxic relationship) before we had met.

    We had been dating for 14 months. During that time, he talked about how much he loved me, and how our relationship was leading towards marriage. He behaved and spoke in a manner that led me to believe that was, in fact, that was the direction in which we were headed. Both my friends and his friends looked at how he treated me and thought that we were heading in the direction also. In spite of this, my intuition kept nagging me to ask questions every couple of months or so, to see if I would get the same answers. I did, and he admitted to me that he wasn’t sure, because he did not feel the same level of intensity that he’d felt for the ex gf. Naturally, I was hurt because I did not realize that he had been comparing how he felt for me to how he’d felt for his ex gf, whom he told me would verbally insult him saying that he was too weak, too short, etc., yet due to the intensity he felt for her (she did not feel that same intensity for him, however), he loved her and wanted her anyway. After we broke up, he reconnected with her, and he’s now doing the same thing with her that you just wrote about in this blog!

    When he admitted that he’d been giving me mixed signals, and that his expressions of love for me were what he was feeling in that moment, I decided that I didn’t want to continue on in a relationship with someone who did not see a future with me, and broke up with him. I then implemented the NC rule, and set about grieving the loss of the relationship and moving forward with my life. That was five months ago, and I have dated a little bit here and there, but I am primarily focusing on loving and being good to myself. I hang out with my friends, go to church, and am in the process of buying myself a cute little house in a lovely little town on the waterfront!

    Two weeks ago the ex bf emailed me to inform me that he had found some clothes in his closet that I’d left (I still had some things that belonged to him as well). Continuing with the NC rule, I made arrangements for both or us to drop off each other’s…

    • kate says:

      Hi Gina
      I can really relate to your experience. Please stay away from him. The time apart will give you some clear perspective. I have been living common law with a man for five years. We had a LD relationship (together two weeks of the month)with the goal of working towards financial independence, quitting his job, etc. Promises of marriage , etc – GIANT future faker . Everyone thought we were the perfect couple (many things in common, great chemistr – lacking the most important core values)) It was last fall when I started to set boundaries and question his behaviour , he started to backtrack ,panic and change the rules . “I love you enough to commit to you, a marrriage license wont change that” , cant quite my job right now. Their were a few warning signs in the beginning but I accepted it that not all men are good communicators . Once he realized I was not going to go along with his “fake promises ” and the jig was up, he began to pull away , get defensive. He finally admitted he tried to be in a committed relationship but failed. He knew that he should be with someone that loved him, treated him well, their was no drama, conflict all the time. So he opted for the safest strategy -He decided to go back to his CH sweetheart two weeks after I ended it with him and they are to be married in three weeks (all in three month time) . I now understand they had a very toxic relationship . SHe was the classic EU assclown . She broke up several times with him over the last 2oyears. She remained in contact “as friends” . She decided to put out the feelers to mutual acquaintances that she regretted ever giving him up. This was all he needed to feel validated. And her ego has been reignited. She is the type that loves drama and gets easily bored with men , we know where this one is going… My friend and I laugh and say “lets sit back and watch this one play out , pass me the popcorn ” .
      Thankfully , I came across Natalies Blog. It has truly changed my life experiences with men.
      Here is what has helped.
      1.Good friends , family offering a supportive ear
      2.Focusing on myself and what changes I need to make to become happier and healthier. ONce I was able to do that , the anger went away and I was actually able to forgive “he noeth not what he does , and thats his damn problem ” !!
      3.Self talk – take every negative thought and find a…

      • Gina says:

        Hi Kate,

        Thanks for sharing your experiences with me! Wow! What a story! Perhaps you can relate to this as well: the thing that blew my mind was that he seemed SO genuine. It took me a while to realize that who he presented himself to be to me, was not who he really was. He’s the kind of guy that will give money to the homeless, treat the restaurant staff with the utmost kindness, and help his friends in need. He even drove across the country with me to help me relocate from the east coast to the west coast to be closer to him, and gave me furniture when I moved. When it comes to romantic relationships, I now realize that he has serious issues and needs to get some help. Well he has, but he doesn’t listen to his therapist.

        Anywho, that’s not my problem. I’m too busy doing me, which is a handful in itself! LOL!

        • kate says:

          Hi Gina
          I have been away from this site for a while (a good sign ?) ( I have been planning my trip to Peru to climb the Incan trail ). I can relate to your situation because my ex appeared to be so kind, thoughtful (to everyone as well) He was never the obvious jerk that you could rationalize having to end it with him , there were so many good things about him .It was easy to justify his bad behaviour (all men have a hard time sharing their feelings ) . Its especially difficult when they are serious “future fakers” . If you do look back , you will see many red flags but it was so easy to rationalize because he had all the good qualities “on paper” unfortunately he was lacking the most important quality – emotional availability. I always had my bounderies clear when it came to addicts, abusers, womanizers, cheats. Thats what my mother warned me about !! I wasnt prepared for the “nice guy” manipulating me , all in the name of his uncertainty about his feelings,his future . Its so good to hear that you are finding your self worth . I had to focus on myself and why I chose to stay . Once I discovered my role in all of this (neediness , unlovable to men )I was able to challange those negative thoughts, wipe the slate clean and create my own positive images .
          Dont think back to the good times (they are gone forever) Focus on how he was like at the end- that is who he really is and he is finally showing his true colours.
          My ex remained an option for 25 years to his ex AS EU GF came in and out of his life in the name of a “friend” . I feel such disbelief that he would do something so pathetic , enough for me to NEVER be that kind of person for him. I am glad to hear that you are moving on. It is really exciting knowing that you have complete control over your life and can do anything you want . Take care

    • Laine says:

      Good for you Gina, you have got your act together and behaved with grace and dignity.Shame the story got cut off…..hope the “clothes returning” went smoothly for you.

      • Gina says:

        Hi Laine,

        It hurt like hell to walk away from that relationship, and I was an emotional wreck for months. BUT, as much as I loved him, I loved and valued myself even more.

  26. Shelly says:

    A friend of mine gave me this quote –

    Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.

    • Gina says:


      A friend of mine sent me the same quote when I walked away from my relationship with my ex! Good advice! Here’s some more good advice from Maya Angelou:

      “When someone shows you who they are the first time, BELIEVE them.”

  27. Lynda from L says:

    Great Article! I found out fairly recently that someone who I had started to treasure as the main person in my life was keeping options open with regard to previous ex girlfriend…saving e mails from her, pics, checking her on facebook etc and also exploring new pathways with a new person….sending her his phone no. accompanied by flirtatious messages. Therfore he had two women on the go as well as me. Not on.

    I not ‘option’…especially since he was telling me the opposite to this and this was our understanding. He was telling me we were exclusive. He was also curtailing my wishes to see friends/cutting out contacts in my own life.
    I am not too upset about this….due to Natalie’s site I ‘ve been dating cautiously for several months and this guys behaviour will probably mean I call it a day. I think of myself first now and what I require from a relationship.Two other cushions in the harem not my style.. At present time I ‘m going to confront him to get exact facts and then make a decision based on my standards and care of myself.

  28. Jana says:

    This was very hard to read.

  29. Fearless says:

    I think we often dump a lot of the responsibility about ‘options’ on the EU/MM/AC. We tend to ‘opt out’ of our own options. Basically, we can see him on his terms or we can dump him. Those are the options we have (and there’s no-one telling me that we don’t know this from quite early on) but for some strange reason the “dump him” option is an option we opt out of. We ignore all that and dump the responsibility on to him, i.e. we think it is him who should step up into the relationship or step out of it. As an example, having become very sick of hearing my Mr EU telling me he would ‘sort himself out’ and never actually doing it, I had a big row with him and told him among other things that I didn’t understand his inaction – that he had to do one thing or the other – “in or out” – I told him he was master of his own fate. He cleverly responded with ‘so are you, you are master of your own fate as well’. I kind of got it…. but I argued with him that I did NOT have any choices here, that all the choices were his! (weird?)

    The reason I found BR was it had finally dawned on me that it was not up to Mr EU to end it; he was not ‘in charge’ of the options – and that if I wanted this situation to be resolved once and for all I had to accept it as it was or end it myself. I knew I could never accept it. Not really. Not happily. Finally I started to see that I really had to face up and take the other option – ‘out’. This was a light bulb moment for me (kind of pathetic, I know) I then went looking for help and advice about how to let go. Thank God I stumbeld upon Nat’s site – I dread to think how I’d have got on otherwise.

    • Minky says:

      Fearless – totally agree with you! We give our power away to these users when we don’t opt out. It’s like we’re waiting for the “mythical Option C”!

      Option A – We stay put and accept crumbs
      Option B – Opt out and go through the pain (for the greater good)
      Option C – We do absolutely nothing and he magically has a personality transplant and gives us everything we think we want!

      In the meantime, we wait and bide our time and become ‘options’, or, as i used to call it: ‘toys’.

      Option C happened to me once – well, it seemed that way anyway. I was after this guy for MONTHS, i adored him – he would sleep with me and then ignore me, then blow hot when he wanted to sleep with me again, then ignore me. You know the drill. Eventually i gave up on him and started seeing someone else. Hello option C! He suddenly wanted to be with me properly – he wanted to be everything i needed – hurrah! What happend after that? This disinterested guy became the most posessive, jealous boyfriend i have ever had. Oh he wanted to be with me alright – to the point where i wasn’t even allowed to sneeze without his sayso!

      Gone off topic a bit, but sometimes you really do have to be careful what you wish for. Sometimes the attention and ‘devotion’ of an AC or EU is far, far worse than their indifference! When it comes to people with unhealthy love habits, their commitment should be the last thing we are seeking! I think every woman who has been married to an AC would attest to that!

      Nat – would be great to have an article about when these bozos DO choose you. What then? Poisioned chalice or what?!

      • Umi says:

        It would be a great article to consider what happens to you when an EU man chooses you..:

        so here’s an example from my own ex became engaged that sounds like a committment right? WRONG so here’s how it played out so far:
        1. he contacts his recent ex within 2 months of being engaged, sleeps with her behind his fiancee’s back on and off for 3 years;
        2. he goes on multiple dating websites and the first line of this profile says “first of all I am single and living along!”
        3. he calls up his ex girlfriends and e.mails them saying how trapped he is in a sexless relationship..i suspect his fiancee has no clue that its sexless!
        4. he installs spy cameras into his home to watch you now you have him
        5. he bans you from speaking to other men
        6, because you won’t have sex with him he tells people you are a lesbian!
        so basically once you get this EUM, his bad habits affect you in ways you may know about and ways you have yet to find out.

        Don’t waste time on these loosers. Feel pity for the woman that gets him and count yourself fortunate to have had a very lucky escape!

      • jennynic says:

        Fearless and Minky, you guys are so spot on. How in the heck do we let the tables turn so quickly on us? We forget our own options in pursuit of not being an option. We willingly hand over the reigns in the relationship and then complain about having no options. It is like a sickness.

  30. izzybell says:

    Hi Fearless,

    I totally agree. In my experience I also have “opted out” of opting out for way too long. My ex kept promising that things would get better, and he actually was working on his own stuff but it still wasn’t the relationship I wanted. I finally realized that, as sad as I was to lose him, I couldn’t be happy continuing to engage in something my gut told me was unhealthy and sub par.

    It’s painful and scary taking responsibility for my own happiness.. maybe because it means if I’m miserable and my life sucks there’s only one person to blame. I spent a lot of time telling my ex that he needed better boundaries with his ex, and that I couldn’t be with someone who lived so much in fear and let someone else dictate his options. Then I realized I was doing the same thing– not setting clear, consistent boundaries and living in terror of what life might be like without him there. I have no control over his behavior or choices but I sure as he** do over mine!

    Anyway, I loved your comment here (and elsewhere). They keep me grounded and remind me of where I’m going, and why the hard work and painful awareness now will (hopefully) be worth it later.

  31. Fravashi says:

    Finding this blog just recently has been a godsend to me. I am recovering from a breakup that occured last October. My live-in boyfriend left me after sixteen months for an ex-girlfriend. I was thinking that she was the “exception to the rule,” but realized in reading this post that she is in fact the “fall back” girl.

    He has no money, works only part time, and he left me because she makes a lot of money. Also, she doesn’t make any demands that he be in a committed relationship (according to him). AND, she took him knowing he lived with me and was cheating on me. She just wanted the thrill of being the “exception,” but in fact, she was acting in desperation and was the fall back.

    I tortured myself with thoughts that he was in relationship heaven, living with a wealthy woman who would benignly tolerate his crushes on other women and who would not only pay for all of his rent, clothing, vacations, etc., but also cook for him. Because if I did it on my slim salary, she would certainly do it on her large one. But part of me is quite certain that this woman will tire of supporting him, because nearly any woman eventually burns out on supporting a man because a man who lives off a woman doesn’t respect her, at bottom, and moreover, he loses sexual interest in her over time because she is more like a mother than anything.

    It is painful to admit what a fool I was, but during the relationship itself, I was nearly always happy, comfortable, and felt great energy and joy from this man’s contribution of mind, wit, and enormous creativity. It was only later that I realized he is manic depressive, and left me during a cycle of extreme mania. In fact, the last time I looked him in the eyes, I literally did not recognize his eyes, he was so torn up about leaving, felt he was making a mistake, but had to do it because the wheels were in motion.

    So I was living “happily” with a mentally unstable man who smoked pot every day and lived off of my $$ and dumped me quickly when I asked for support. When we moved to a more expensive apartment and I needed more commitment and money from him, he quickly blew the roost.

    I haven’t responded to his request for contact again, and have been utterly incommunicado for these eight months except to ask for a payment he owed me. I am very proud of myself for holding my ground and refusing any contact with this assclown. I also feel like a truly wonderful new life has opened up to me in ways that simply could not have occurred had this man stayed in my life. In fact, I haven’t felt this good in more than a decade. Living with no contact makes you realize how incredibly blessed you’ll be, if you will only stick by your guns and respect yourself enough to avoid a man who ruins you. As time goes on, I realize I could never be friends with this guy again, even though I have known him most of my life as a close friend. Protecting yourself from people who don’t treat you well ends up allowing you to grow, develop, and become joyous as a person. I have become so joyous now that he is gone that I have attracted a man thirty years my junior! I just feel, look, and act so much younger now that I freed myself from a man who didn’t love me.

    • Beth D says:

      Amen Great post. No contact with my AC for two months now and never felt better. I feel like I was in some sort of web and I am finally free!! I don’t concentrate on the good times anymore but the fact that he disrespected me with his disappearing acts and ambivalent behavior. I have never felt better!! All these posts and Natalie helps so much.

    • NML says:

      Fravashi, it’s like you’ve been with a manic depressive, highly creative, *escort*. This man is near shameless. There’s not much to miss here and it’s like being worried about competing with another woman for who can finance a man the most. What both of you learn out of this, albeit her lesson clearly hasn’t happened yet, is that having a man dependent on you isn’t a guarantee of love and commitment, and that when one woman expects, needs, or wants too much, the rolling stone can head to a new bankroller.

      You seem more than happy to cater to all his ‘needs’ in *exchange* for commitment and love – this is not even the beginnings of a fair or appropriate exchange of goods – you cannot buy love or availability. You can do better without putting your hand in your purse.

      • Kay says:

        “It is painful to admit what a fool I was, but during the relationship itself, I was nearly always happy, comfortable, and felt great energy and joy from this man’s contribution of mind, wit, and enormous creativity. It was only later that I realized he is manic depressive, and left me during a cycle of extreme mania. ” I could have written this exact same text about the man I was smitten with….and also came to the conclusion that he must be manic-depressive. He has an intoxicating effect on me and NC has been the best thing. He’s just too good looking, too intelligent, too fun – and too unavailable, erratic, unpredictable, uncommitted…….who would inexplicably disappear once it appeared he was developing feelings for me….

  32. Happy Girl says:

    This is a great post and awesome advice! If someone doesn’t want you when you are available, shut it down. I’m an indepedent person with lots of friends and interests, and I’ve casually dated about 3 guys in the past who all did complete 180’s when I began to make time for them. I no longer see this as rejection. I see this as being a great catch who scares away dipshit men who don’t know what they want or only like the chase and know for certain that they are ass hats. They did me huge favors, and so did my recent ex. I recently told a friend that I have no interest in someone who sees a commitment to me as being “tied down”. If that’s how they picture building a life together, then they have not been paying a lick of attention to who I am or what I stand for, and have seriously skewed ideas about relationships that I can’t fix.

    • Sofie says:

      waw Happy Girl,

      it’s uplifting to read your comment.
      I feel the same way, only it’s hard to actualy really feel that when you’re heart is broken after a two year relationship of push and pull.
      I hope I will be able to write and mean a similar kind of reply once I no longer feel so lonely and indeed rejected about the whole ordeal.
      I think for many people, when they see themselves continuously with men who are unavailable and downright bad for them, they have similar friends. Well, I do. So the back fall isn’t always that shiny either. And the insight that it really does spread further than only romantic involvement with men, for me, is a real brain twister aswell.
      It still takes a serious strong personality though I think, to not feel rejected and insecure after a relationship you thought was only going to get better.
      Looking at your own options and choosing to opt out is one thing. Getting to where you are is another.
      I’m looking forward to that with excitement :-)

      • Fearless says:

        before you can get to where Happy Girl is you do have to opt out of these damaging involvements – Just close the door on these people. Decide to do it. And do it. Then agree with yourself on some clear boundaries that you will live by in the future. Until you do that, this vicious circle will repeat and repeat and repeat…

        • Used says:

          Absolutely correct.

          I was about to give an old friend a 2nd chance (by inviting her to my son’s upcoming b-day party, though she didn’t invite us to her son’s recent b-day party, alleging “it was small, as we just had a death in the family”), but I am not going to. I forgave her once by choosing to stay friends with her despite her ruining my chances with a guy. I forgave her again despite her taking my ex-Eum’s side, when he acted as though I still was interested in him (this is despite that he always looks my way, copies what I do, etc. etc.). If I forgive her this time, I’d be an idiot! (It would be like not only giving her 3 chances, but 4–coming to our party would be chance #4, as chance #3 was her rejecting inviting us!)

          If I invite her, and she rejects by not inviting us the next time around at the next b-day party (with some sort of another lame excuse I am sure), the next rejection will be akin to her 5th chance and the 5th time that egg will be on my face!

          Yes, these people are best kept out of your lives. If you let them in, exercise caution.

          I am thankful for this article. It came at the right time, for me!

          The ex-EUM must laugh his a$$ off at all of the drama surrounding what people do in light of his existence in this world and his past “choices” in who he dated/targeted.

          I like a quote of NML’s in a previous article: when someone is all eager-beaver about drawing you into inappropriate situations, they have designs on you or want to F**k with you. The ex-EUM evenh asked out and dated once a mutual acquaintance who knew his then-ex, now-wife’s, best friend. He had designs on her from the beginning! And this woman is in the same boat I am in, too, as a result of his “choice” to date her: she doesn’t get invited to stuff thrown by mutual acquainatnces, either.

          I used to think he was going into these dating relationships fairly and squarely, to treat the women he dated as true dates, etc.

          NOw I see ALL of these people as rats having no morals.

          They can all have each other.

    • Minky says:

      That is so inspiring, Happy Girl, and i totally agree!

      My friend has had her heart broken by yet another dipshit guy and i will pass on your words of wisdom and hope she has a change of perspective.

  33. ms.option says:

    I need help. I think he has done it to me again almost a yr to the date when he disappeared before with no explanation. I send a text today he responds said it had been a strange week, I asked why he said he almost got kicked out of his house and she almost went to jail again(she has been arrested 3 times in the last 4 mos.) he is so not that type of person and neither am I. Anyway I asked why and he won’t answer me.. I have sent 3 messages and he won’t reply. He is on his way out of state for work so I know he can. Why was I so stupid to let him do this to me again? I feel so rejected again and am left not knowing why again. He promised he would tell me this time if he wanted to end things. Why can’t he just tell me???

    • grace says:

      ms option
      nothing has happened here – it’s just been some texts. he can’t tell you it’s ended because there’s nothing to end. maybe he’s hiding because you keep wanting stuff he doesn’t want to give you. he IS that type of person – he seems to love the drama and to be honest, you seem to love it too. You’re not going to get a big announcement from him. It’s up to you to decide whether you want to keep exchanging pointless texts until kingdom come.

    • NML says:

      Ms Option. This illustrates the point of this post. You have given this man the option of you and the option of rejecting the relationship because he was free to disappear before and have you hunting him down stoking his ego AND you took him back AND you’re still chasing him around and removing your dignity.

      Asking a man who has already effed off for a few months AND is married to warn you if he wants out when he’s already behaving like a using, flip flapping twit is like saying to an abuser “the next time you feel like giving me a punch in the face, can you give me a heads up?”

      This whole relationship is a giant heads up. He is married and he barely wants to even have an ‘affair’. You’re the one chasing him which is actually bit of a killjoy in itself as you’re showing how desperate you are to be with him. That’s just not attractive, married or not, and he’s not that special anyway.
      Stop texting, stop hounding him – you’re stripping yourself of your dignity. Some people don’t tell you – they show you. No answer is an answer. Take the hint before you put yourself through anything else. Oh and the fact that this is all being done by text speaks volumes – *crumbs*.

      • Fearless says:

        Ms Option,
        Nat and Grace give good advice.
        When I read your initial comment I was very struck by this part especially: “I did not hear from him for 5 mos. He ignored every plea for a response. It was awful.”
        It’s bad enough to be begging for crumbs never mind begging to be allowed to beg for crumbs… you need distance. Go NC. Good luck!

    • colororange says:

      ms. option, he won’t tell you because he is a douche. Strange week my a$$. That is a cop out if I ever heard one. I’ve heard all the reasons (excuses) too as to why the man can’t/won’t contact me even when he says he will or why he won’t do XYZ. It’s a line because he’d rather tell you he’s going to do something than come out and say he’s not so he can come out looking good. It’s called the runaround. He can’t tell you because it makes him look/feel bad. So he’d rather lie. The question is why do you keep going back for more rejection? It won’t be any different each time you do it and you end up feeling worse and worse. Trust me, I know how this feels.

      I waited almost six months on a man to make up his mind if he wanted to “work things out” with me while he went out and did his thing. The whole time it was very stressful and anxiety ridden for me. I look at that and think why in the world did I not take charge and end it myself, why did I have to wait on HIM to make up HIS mind about ME and OUR relationship. I was scared and thought oh he might change, oh he might see how worthy I am of him and yata yata. I was miserable because I was letting someone else steer my ship. You might as well have rubbed dog poo off your shoe on my forehead because I laid myself so low waiting on him.

  34. Magnolia says:

    This morning my options were: get up and wander around this town I’m in, or sleep in as long as I like. Things are getting so much better emotionally: finally, instead of thinking, “Woe is me, I have no one to hang out with,” I thought, “How awesome is this? I have no one to answer to but me.” I chose a long, lazy sleep-in. It felt luxurious.

    I never thought I would have such feelings in my life.

    I am loving this whole self-esteem-building business. The exact same situation looks and feels totally different from the perspective of self-love rather than self-doubt. And self-reliance: what used to feel like a life-sentence to endless loneliness now feels like a world of openness, possibility and choice.

    Here is to being and creating our own options.

    • cavewoman says:

      Magnolia, I am so happy for you, it’s lovely to see how long we’ve both come over the past few weeks. I am at about the same place: pleasantly surprised by the little pleasures of emotional self-sufficiency. Who knew?! Nothing spectacular in finding simplicity, calm, ease…

      You’re so right, it’s about creating our own options, and we’ll never know how creative we can get until we give it an honest chance! I discovered a brand new fail-proof way to cheer myself up. It works, and when the glee wears off, I can always do it again. The old me would have been way too self-conscious even behind closed doors and drawn curtains to do something so silly as this… Hula-hoop to dance music! Like you say, I have no one to answer to but me. I would have felt compelled to quit as soon as I started enjoying myself because suffering from the human condition somehow used to seem more noble and more impressive. Now I have my medicine. Eff it, if we’ll all be dead all too soon anyway, I’m entitled to be silly and have fun with myself.

      • Magnolia says:

        Thanks cw, and I loved your take-no-shit library story. I still could use more of that.

  35. Ms Muppet says:

    I came across this blog yesterday,and I have seen my life in print-or everything I do WRONG with my life. I have/am being the option,used the ‘I have nothing better to be doing so this Mr Unavailable will do until Mr Amazing arrives’ excuse, and currently I am entertaining a man who has been in and out of my life at his whim for a year and a half!! I think the problem is that I chatted him up in a bar, we had the one nighter, he disappeared, came back, hung around a week, disappeared again, reappeared, I gave him a chance, asked if he wanted to try a real ‘thing’, he wasnt cut out for a relationship, I ended it, told him there were no hard feelings but I was done, and he reappeared a month later, and three months in, I still “dont know where I stand”-except I do now.. I am the option, he does not have any interest, he uses lazy communication, I keep letting him away with it, hoping he will see the light and realise how amazing I am, and want to keep me for himself… He introduced me to his mother for christs sake??! Currently I am waiting to hear if we are meeting on Tuesday- I was supposed to be informed today, but no plans yet… what am I LIKE?!?!??! I know what I have to do, and have always known, every time I end up here, but I always use my boredom as an excuse not to move on, and be alone.. This time, I hope the assclown bails for meeting up this week, so I will have the courage to call him on his total lack of interest, and thus the utter waste of my time. I hate confrontation though, so we will see how that goes… I ADORE this blog Nat, you are inspired, I hope you have not had all the nonsense that you write about, as I would not wish it on anyone, but you are a shining light in this murky world of Muppets!!

    • Fearless says:

      Ms Muppet.
      “This time, I hope the assclown bails for meeting up this week, so I will have the courage to call him on his total lack of interest, and thus the utter waste of my time”.

      I spent years calling ‘him’ out on his lack of interest and wasting my time. Know what? It didn’t make him any more interested at all and he wasted just more and more of my time. I see now that all I was doing was re-affirming for him my position as ‘option’. His lack of interest is not pretend…it’s not that he is behaving *as if* he is not that interested – he is simply *not*. And all the complaining in the world won’t change that. You have to change you. You have to call yourself out on ‘his lack of interest’ and your own ‘utter waste of your time’. Good luck!

    • ICanDoBetter says:

      Ms Muppet,
      May I just ask, it’s been a year and half of this behavior. Why do you need for him to screw up one more time? Believe me, I have been there, and that “one more time” can go on and on, because we are relying on our anger to give us the courage to confront. You should be angry, but what I found in my situation was that when I confronted in anger, I would let that emotion rule the conversation, and so after the dust of the confrontation settled, I would re-play it in my head, and come out looking like the bad guy for losing my cool. That kind of confrontation just gives the AC more ammunition and/or justification for his own bad behavior.
      I finally came to a place where I made the decision to opt out just for me. And the decision was mostly about me. And I calmly ended things, and felt nothing but peace about it.
      What I’m saying is that you are still giving him all the options, by putting the responsibility on him to step up this time or not. Yes, he has to own his actions, but why this particular Tuesday meeting? Why does the whole relationship hinge on that, when he has clearly given you an answer in his year and half of behavior?

      • Ms Muppet says:

        Thanks ladies,you are right,since last night I have decided to – best case scenario, ignore the AC should he get in touch, or – weak case scenario, Just calmly tell him that this is not enjoyable for me, and why on earth would I partake in something that is a drain on my energy?!? Believe me I know the insanity of this situation, but when reading Nats Blog, I also tick a few more boxes- the Drama Crack Addict for one, so I know this is all about having something, no matter how negative, but just SOMETHING to occupy my mind!! I am a skint student who is either working or sitting in to avoid spending money, so boredom is my worst enemy… Thanks for the feedback ladies, much appreciated!!!

        • Minky says:

          Glad to hear you are taking charge of the situation. Now the battle is not second guessing your decision. Don’t! You’ve absolutely made the right choice. This guy cannot give you what you want.

          As a student there are always things you can do that don’t involve money. Get your friends round and have some cheap wine, join a book club or student society, go for a walk/ run/ cycle. Boredom is no excuse to put up with these idiots.

          Best of luck (hugs) :)

      • EmLAW says:

        I finally opted out of this same madness with a MM – so I can completely feel your pain. 6th day of no contact in fact :) You have to be ready and it has to be for you not to punish him. Not much experience with this sort of thing but I will tell you once you wear off the initial shock of not having the drama crack pipe you will find a weird peacefullness and will get into a self preservation mode!! Good luck….HUGS!

        • cavewoman says:

          Hi EmLaw, just sending you greetings and wishing you a good day 7! Soon you can start counting in weeks, see? Go girl!

          • EmLAW says:

            The attempts to reset are in full force….I need a good one liner for not being someone’s option any suggestions???? or should I just continue to sit on my hands and hope he gets the picture loud and clear?

            • NML says:

              Er, you’re No Contact EmLAW – THAT’S your response. ie. say nothing and go about your business. He’ll get the picture when you continue not responding and the time you are No Contact exceeds any previous gap and *then* some. You’re a bright woman – you *knew* he was going to try and get in touch. Feeling out of control fuels their desire. You cut off the supply, their demand goes up temporarily but it is false demand. He’s not a stupid man – he can add 2 and 2 together and get 4. Leave it be. You have to make up your mind about how serious you are. If you’re doing NC to trigger desire from him, you’re playing a bad game that you will lose at. Stay the course. Sit on your hands. Go and have a life instead of living in the shadows.

              • EmLAW says:

                You are correct….and I am serious and seriously sitting on my hands.

              • had_enough says:

                Don’t worry Nat…..I’ve been on board, although I did slip a tad last weekend when I got the super disgusting text at 4am. I texted him back to leave me alone, and have a nice life. Mostly, so there’s no doubt in his mind that I resent the hell out of him. He can feel better about himself on somebody else’s dime.

                I’ve come to grips with the fact that he isn’t the man I thought he was, never was, and never will be. Still sad….but free from the pain and torment that was all he had to give.

  36. MaryC says:

    Nat your post couldn’t of come at a better time. Seems like when ever I start to fall back into the black hole of self-pity your words pull me back from the abyss. Thanks for setting me straight once again.

    • Fearless says:

      He’s not trying to win you over so you can run off into the sunset together. He’s just checking your availability status; he’s checking to make sure your option status remains intact for him. Answer him = it is. NC= it isn’t. Only you can decide if it is or it isn’t. There is no half-way house. That is the hard pill to swallow at your stage. But the longer you are NC and focussing on you, not on him (this is crucial) the more you see that ending it is a really positive thing for you and for your life. You won’t see that unless you stick with it and just trust in the process. It does work.

      Nat says they stop checking up on your option status once you have stayed away from them for as long as the last gap – and some. My longest gap when I first went NC was about 8 months, notwithstanding a few daft texts back and forth in between times – but largely speaking there was virtually/almost no contact. When I fell of the wagon after 8 months or so, I saw him only about four times… but I had been NC long enough that when he went ‘cold’ I didn’t even take it personally! I simply couldn’t be bothered with it! I could read him like a book and I was validating myself!… So I went NC again and it was very easy to do that. Thing is, I don’t care if it takes him over 8 months to come checking my option status. I know what my option status is! Here’s the great thing… I don’t care what he knows! I know. Yippeee!

      • Mango says:

        Way to go Fearless! I enjoy your posts; I am inspired. Thank you. Day 4 NC, Round 3?…..

  37. ms.option says:

    First I want to say I read your posts over and over everyday trying to get my courage up to walk away.
    I also want to say I have never asked him to leave his marriage, he is the one that has always brought it up.
    Also when his wife was separated from his wife a few weeks ago. He took me out in our town, introduced me to his 6 yr old daughter. All of which led me to believe he was serious. Everytime I have mentioned ending this he begs me not to give up on him. Also it’s not all texts. He works out of state every other week, and we talk more then. A week ago when he was out of state he called and we talked 5 hrs straight.
    I did hear from him later today and he apologized for the way things had been all week.
    I know I have to end this because it is keeping me an emotional wreck. He is a master manipulator and I keep letting him manipulate me. I just don’t know how to be strong enough. I signed up for your nc newslater back in march because he was blowing cold. And then he started coming on very strong and has been hot since then until the last couple of weeks.
    What is the best way to end this. Do I go nc on him with no explanation or do I tell him?

    • Magnolia says:

      You can tell him it’s over via email. That way you won’t be tempted to respond if he gets in touch wondering why you haven’t been around. He’s married; you don’t owe him anything more than that. Then go NC.

    • grace says:

      Ms Option
      Nothing you’ve said here makes this situation (it’s not even an affair) sound any more impressive and neither does it point to him being a ” master manipulator”. This is a good thing. You’re not dealing with some kind of criminal mastermind here, but your common or garden EU who is a bit pathetic.
      As for whether or not he will leave his wife – it’s irrelevant whether you bring it up, or he brings it up, or neither of you brings it up, or both or you brings it up. What’s relevant is he’s married and you’re miserable. But since you mention it, no, he won’t leave her.
      NC him without explanation. He would have to be a complete idiot to not know why the OW he barely sees and who keeps trying to break up has stopped contacting him. If you must tell him something, keep it short, firm and non-dramatic. “Don’t contact me anymore. I am moving on”.
      You get strong enough by not jumping to his beat anymore and getting your own life. It’s like weight training – you don’t get strong by reading books about weights or thinking about weights. You pick em up and start lifting.

  38. Jaynewyork says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I acted like someone’s option for the last 7 years. Ach – I hate to even admit that in this forum! To this day I remember the exact moment when I still had my self-esteem and I could have ended it without too much damage to my self worth. Instead, I essentially acted out each one of your Fallback girls and could have won a Tony award for each performance. It was relationship crack. Not moving on. Never giving anyone a chance because I was not fully present or engaged, and truly, disappointed with the stage of my life (all levels) so I was attracting EUM and AC’s by the busloads. It only made “the one that got away” more powerful and his fleeting attentions like a drug. I didn’t get this behavior until I started reading this blog! I’m proud to say that he’s gone for good now, and I can see what it was – toxic, emotional abuse. I am strong and I’m smiling because I chose to NC and tell him to finally shove off two years ago. And in that time he came back 5 times, even recently a month ago. Will he be back? Yes. How do I know? Because he has nearly 7 years of my acceptance of his behavior as a track record. My inside voice was hurt and demanding of respect. My outside voice basically poured him tea.

    But, here’s the rub. Nat – I routinely feel like a loser for basically being someone’s option for so long and breaking all my rules and boundaries, and basically having to relearn healthy behaviors. That’s on me. Can you write a series on how not to self-hate when we wake up from this Rip Van Winkle relationship slumber? You’ve written amazing stuff on values/behaviors, etc., but maybe something that specifically addresses moving from doormat to well…healthy after being the Fallback girl. What’s the opposite of a Fallback girl? How does she act in a healthy relationship? How does she choose rather than wait to be chosen?

    I know so many of your posts bring up this empowerment aspect, and those are extremely helpful. Not to be selfish, but I guess I’d love to know more from your POV. Thank you always for reinforcing the message about not waiting and building up our self worth. That is the game changer.

    • grace says:

      I assume you did other things in this seven years – it wasn’t all about him? Even though my relationship history has been crap too, I did get a degree, almost double my salary, buy my own flat, counsel family members (I gave much better advice to other people than to myself!), learn French etc.
      If you did NOTHING in the seven years except wait on an EU/AC then, yes, it is very sad but you can learn from the experience. It would be even more of a waste to spend another x years thinking about it and kicking yourself. And we do only have the present. Even if the past seven years had been paradise, you still have to live in the here and now.
      The crappy relationships don’t define you.

    • Natasha says:

      “I routinely feel like a loser for basically being someone’s option for so long and breaking all my rules and boundaries, and basically having to relearn healthy behaviors.”
      Jayne, you’re not alone on this one, trust me. I did the same for 5 years and I’ve been NC for about 6 months. I didn’t even really want to vent about it to my friends (the majority of which are in great relationships/married), because I felt like such a loser! I really, really like what Grace said about this. I think we should take it to heart :)

      • Jaynewyork says:

        Yes ladies. This is sound, wonderful advice. In the 7 years I knew him, which of course were on and off, I started a graduate degree at an excellent institution, (done this December!), decided to take my career in a new direction, explored some creativity, and learned so much about myself that I now believe I can be more discerning and find a great, healthy partner. I think that comes from self-expression and believing that who you are matters. I didn’t always believe this, which is why I let it go on for so long. It’s as Nat writes about how we don’t cut our losses because we feel we are in too deep, so we go all in on the potential. Mostly though I stopped panicking. I still have A LOT to learn, but I don’t suffer fools, and realize that I need to make myself so happy. The rest will come!

        Stay strong ladies!! xxoo

      • imfree says:

        Yup, I’m going through a stage of kicking myself for being so caught up for so long. It’s a lot of time to waste when the writing was on the wall from the very start. True – i’m glad i figured it out, but still feel down on myself for putting myself in that position. Sometimes it feels like I have effectively prevented myself from having a great relationship/marriage/kids etc – watched all my friends settle down and move on, while I stayed stuck….hmmm

  39. Blaise Parker says:

    I read every post but rarely comment. Had to delurk to say:

    Asking a man who has already effed off for a few months AND is married to warn you if he wants out when he’s already behaving like a using, flip flapping twit is like saying to an abuser “the next time you feel like giving me a punch in the face, can you give me a heads up?”

    DAMN. Well said.

    Ms. Option, it hurts like HELL now, but one day if you keep reading and praying and learning, you will be saying those words to the next woman.

    Oh, BTW, Natalie, getting married next year to an AWESOME man and with much thanks to you. THANK YOU.

  40. cavewoman says:

    Today was my big day. I withstood an EU testing of the reset button maneuver.
    We first met at the library where I work, two years ago… his last words to me were on a Sunday back in February: ‘I’ll call you Tuesday or Wednesday’. I never heard from him again. Complete vanishing act, no conflict or confrontation or goodbyes. He even consistently avoided the library during my work hours, sneaking around behind my back! He’s kept it up for the past four months! an adult, over 40! But eventually he would have to tire of hiding from me, and I know from BR they have a habit of turning up just when you feel like you’re finally moving on — and that is how I’ve been feeling this week.
    So he turned up. The one time I’m tending the circulation desk alone, so I can’t pretend not to notice him. The irony! I roll my eyes and smile to myself, but I’m also on the edge of a panic attack, all at once. This is what I used to call a thrill? I am terrified, it’s plain sickening, the tension just about knocks me over.

    He puts a plastic bag full of books on the circ counter. He says hi.
    Me: Returning? [I meant the books, I think to myself, not you.]
    Him: No, I’m checking these out.
    Me: Just bring them over here… your card please? [I take a deep breath. So he showed up, this doesn’t change anything. He’ll be gone in a few minutes and my life will go on as planned, without him. Breathe. I’m doing my job, businesslike and professional is all that matters.]
    Him: You look different!
    Me: Oh-kay…? [as in thanks? That’s a compliment? Where exactly is this going, anywhere inappropriate? I actually do look different. I’ve grown out my hair, it’s wavy and long, I’ve slimmed down. I get compliments on how great I look, and I’ve got a lovely outfit on today. Different is the best he could manage. What a sore loser.]
    Him: How are you? [=acknowledgement that 4 friggin’ months went by?!]
    Me: I’m fine!
    Silence. I’m starting to feel rude. I don’t want to overdo it.
    Me: and you?
    Him: Oh, the same. [Translate: poor poor me, still depressed and overwhelmed, still can’t be bothered to pull my head out of my ass – at any rate I still use the same tired old excuses.]
    No sympathies and no invitation to elaborate. I’m too angry and nervous. Besides I know I’ve heard it all before. I slow my breath. It occurs to me my hands might be visibly…

    • Fearless says:

      He sounds v like my Mr EU (ex)
      esp. this bit where he’s all:

      [poor poor me, still depressed and overwhelmed, still can’t be bothered to pull my head out of my ass ]

      I’d love to hear the rest of your story.

      • cavewoman says:

        Fearless, it went waaay over the word limit and I didn’t mean to hog the blog! He basically had the nerve to act as if nothing unusual happened, like he wasn’t the one to disappear, no apology or explanation necessary, because on his planet personal problems justify not taking three measly minutes to do the respectful decent thing, and acting like an adolescent moron is automatically forgiven after a few months. Grr.
        He did not have to try to chat, but he kept trying. I just refused to take his baits. “How is school?”- “Great” “Good to see you!” WTF?!
        Me: Yeah — […but not good enough for you to make an effort to see me. Yeah it might be good for you to see me but it’s bad, bad, sickeningly bad for me to see you. Yeah it’s good to see me now, so what? it’s out of sight, out of mind with you anyways. You disappeared for four months.] I just shrugged. I avoided lying, I didn’t say ‘Good to see you too’. It didn’t even cross my mind to say it just to be nice. I’m *so* done with that kind of nice. I was only as polite as I had to be on the my job. I finished checking his books out.
        Me: All set?
        Him: All set.
        He probably got the message because he didn’t say thank you or goodbye; he looked kind of offended as he walked away and out. A few minutes later he wanders back inside! He forgot his journal article copies. When he brought the journals back, all I said emphatically was “Done?” [as in: are you finished puttering about around me?] “Done”, he nodded, and left. He gets it, no drama necessary.
        Next time will be easier. I was so scared of this first NC encounter, but once it was happening it was so obvious what to do with the tension. Just feel the ugliness, look the cowardly manipulation in the face and see it for what it is and TAKE NO SHIT. I can do this. WE CAN ALL DO THIS it takes much less effort than playing along.

        • Fearless says:

          Cavewoman – Yay-hay!! I feel like clapping. No, I am clapping! Great story! Go you! An inspiration to us all! :)

  41. Aura says:

    I was thinking that this website is brilliant for identifying how ” too accomodating” we as women, have been. Too nice, means you get walked over, I get that.
    The thing is, after a few posts you start to feel silly that it’s so obvious that you’ve been duped and that can lead you to spiral down lower and feel worse about yourself.
    It’s like not only have you been used and taken for a ride, but you’re a fool look how obvious all this is. Anyway, what I’m thinking now, is enough identifying the villain and feeling like a victim. Time to feel good again. Learn and let go. Let people that treat you badly go. Forgive them for they aren’t perfect. Forgive yourself for not having been perfect. Stop the cycle. It’s time for happiness.

    • Australia says:

      I know what you mean, Aura.

      I feel as though my self-esteem drops lower when I realize that I have been hanging around someone who has rejected me multiple times, hangs around when it’s convienent, said mean things to me, made me feel ugly and unspecial.

      I feel as though I should’ve walked away months ago the first time he rejected me, or at the least the second time. Yet, I’m still here giving him an ego stroke, and a shag, and a shoulder to lean on.

      So now of course I feel stupid, and how the hell can he value me now? and I should’ve left a long time ago.

      But if it makes you feel any better Aura, it is only human to want to believe someone, to want to believe their promises and give them chances. Don’t beat yourself up for it. Face your own issues and keep your head high making progress on yourself. Smile and be happy, you know why? It doesn’t matter what he or his friends or anyone else thinks of your situation. No one will care in a matter of hours, days, months. People are too absorbed in their own lives. So put aside your ego, and smile, because you finally did realize it was obvious, so you can leave, and thats all that matters.

      I still don’t have the courage to leave part down. The obvious part is obvious thanks to Natalie.

  42. RG says:

    Thank you, Natalie, for writing this post.
    I’ve been a silent reader of your blog these past few weeks, but I just wanted to express my gratitude for this particular post because it really hit home with me. I suspect I’m a bit younger than your average reader (2nd year of uni), but let me tell you, the issues are the same for most women of dating age.
    I foolishly pursued a friend I’d had my eye on after he was rejected by this girl he was in love with, and I consciously acted as his emotional buffer. For me, I cringed so much when I read your post. I have been an “option” for this guy on more than one occasion, meeting up with him late at night when I should be in bed etc. Really, I’m mortified at how shamelessly I pursued him- he made it clear that he wasn’t over her from the beginning, and I for some illogical reason decided to ignore the signs of being “rebound girl”; I was just so convinced on the fact that our situation was different and that I could fix him with some effort on my part. Looking back, I realize I was definitely a third option for him (the ranking went like this: 1. friends 2. video games/school 3. me). This led to my life being an emotional rollercoaster. Some days I would be in tears because he would indirectly reject me (ex: telling me he *can’t* spend time with me because he was playing video games) and other days I would be madly happy because of his renewed affections. It didn’t help that he did his share of “future-faking” himself, promising me that the next school year he’d make our relationship official etc. and initiating contact with me via texting after I attempted a period of “no contact” with him. I have had a hard time dismissing him as an “assclown” etc, as he’s actually a very nice guy- blunt, kind, very talented/intelligent with good social skills- not good looking by my usual standards, but on the whole a wonderful guy.
    Anyways the school year is now over, and he ironically was the one who requested “no contact” over the summer so he could figure out his feelings for me (re: whether he likes me only as a rebound). I acted like the “no contact” decision was mutual, but the truth is…I was an emotional mess the first few weeks of summer. I couldn’t believe he was still questioning my rebound status after our lovely dates, coupley-moments and all of those promises he made. While it might be…

    • NK says:

      Ugh, I hate it when freindships blur with blurry lines!
      keep NC, tell yourself every day that its worth it.
      It will be.

      • grace says:

        I feel the need to point out that friends don’t have sex. If a friend is shagging you he is either a) exploiting the friendship for sex or b) your boyfriend.
        It’s usually a.
        Ladies, please don’t run off with the idea that when he’s in bed with his female friend he’s thinking “this is cool, my friend is now my girlfriend”. More like …. SCORE!!
        There’s nothing blurry about this at all. we blur it ourselves with expectations that have no foundation in reality.

    • grace says:

      Tell this “wonderful” guy to push off and leave you alone. It made me gag when I read that he’s going to spend the summer considering whether or not you are up to scratch (I don’t care how “nicely” he words it, he’s basically treating you like a contestant in Miss World. But Miss World doesn’t have to put herself on hold all freakin summer.). Who the hell does he think he is? He really must think he’s a prize catch to think that ANYONE, never mind an attractive young woman, would put herself on standby for a whole effin summer.
      You should be angry! Lord know I am.
      By the way, he’s going to spending the summer chasing chicks and playing video games, not swooning around writing romantic poetry about you.

      • Used says:

        Facts you know:
        1. He has already put thought into how he wants to spend this summer;
        2. his thoughts don’t include you;
        3. he wants PERMISSION FROM YOU that this is O.K.;
        4. you give permission, he doesn’t (have to) feel guilty, or the guilt is relieved ;
        5. you don’t give permission, he won’t see you (at least for this summer, if you take him back in the fall; or never again, if you are smart), or he’ll see you…rarely and (probably) just for sex and/or ego stroking; and he’ll still be seeing other girls, playing video games, and hanging with his single unattached friends who will be looking for girls!

        A manipulative little brat. And he knows (consciously or not) that he has The Sympathy and Patience Card with you, as he knows that you know he just lost his ex.

        Don’t even talk to him anymore! NC all the way!

  43. Jayne says:

    So I finally did something right! It’s been almost one whole year of NC with my ex Future Faker ! After they broke up with me Over The Phone ( like I was a fling!) They claimed to want me in their life & to be friends! Well THAT is not an option!!!!
    It has been excruciating but worth it! I coulnt have done it without studying in Nats School of Debunking Assclownery ! After many unavailables an Assclown, Future Faker, and one wacko I dubbed Playedurself … I’ve had plenty of practice! Now I’m observing my attactions & looking for code amber/ red behavior/ flags and boundry busting!

    • Natasha says:

      “They claimed to want me in their life & to be friends! Well THAT is not an option!!!!”
      Jayne, the same thing happened to me! This loser begged me to take him back, promised a relationship, and then finally disappeared after treating me like crap when I went to visit him. “Friends” in this case is like, “I want you around on the sidelines in case I ever have some use for you.”/”If we’re not on ‘good terms’, how am I going to slink around for some sex, free therapy or ego boosting when I’m out of options elsewhere?”/”I don’t want to talk about what happened or deal with you, so I’ll throw out the friends option.” I felt the same way, i.e. pigs will fly before I call this jackass my friend! Good for us for having the sense not to go there. Natalie has a couple of excellent posts about remaining friends with guys like this and in one of them, she said, “Let them miss out on you.” AMEN.

  44. Jayne says:

    PS I am enternally grateful to Natalie & all of her faithful fans! We will recover & find real love… for ourselves with ourselves!
    Good luck to all of you! Hang in there- you are worth it!
    Love, xxxooo

  45. Gina says:

    “Midnight Train to Ashclownville”
    My boundaries proved too much for the man.
    So he’s leaving the lies he’s come to know,
    He said he’s goin’ back to find
    Ooh, what’s left of his world
    He’s leaving on that midnight train to Ashclownville
    And he’s goin back
    to a simpler place and time
    And I won’t be with him
    On that midnight train to Ashclownville
    I’d rather live in my world,
    and live without him just fine
    He kept dreamin’ that one day he’d be my superstar
    But he sure found out that hard way that dreams don’t always come true
    So he pawned all his hopes
    And even told ‘em at the bar
    Bought a one way ticket back
    To the life of lies he used to make fools
    Oh yes he did
    I told him he should
    Get leavin’
    On that midnight train to Ashclownville
    he’s goin’ back
    To a simpler place and time
    And I won’t be with him
    On that midnight train to Ashclownville
    I’d rather live in my world,
    And live without him just fine.
    He’s gonna board, gonna board
    I ain’t gonna board, I ain’t gonna board
    The midnight train
    Oh no!
    He’s got to go, I ain’t gonna go
    On the midnight train
    Oh no!
    My world; not his world
    His world; not my world
    I aint’ got to go
    I ain’t got to go
    Oh no!
    On the midnight train
    (fade and repeat)

  46. the new me says:

    In FEb 2010, I spent the most miserable weekends of my life, waiting, hoping, praying that the EUM assclown I had a crush on would make good on his word and come and help me renovate my house. Every week, he would promise to stop by on the weekend and help. Every week, I believed him when he said it. I would work, terrified to even run out for food least that be the minute he stopped by. I had my phone on me 24-7 and had no life for an entire month, waiting. He finally started showing up in mid March, the “relationship” lasted less than 4 and was the most painful, hurtful one of my life. Looking back now, I am not the least bit surprised it ended as it did, given how it began.

    I wish I had read this post 18 months ago. It would have saved me a lot of heartache. Not only was I willing to be an option, I completely abandoned what little life I had on the hope, the slim chance, that he might grace me with a call or his presence. Thinking about it now, I am embarrassed by the version of me. The good news is that she is dead and gone. I have a life now and like myself. I am waiting for no one.

  47. NK says:

    NML, did you write this in reaction to my comments?
    Certainly feels like it. I guess you get this kind of situation all the time. Thanks either way !
    Its been 3 days now and I know that my guy was sloting me into being an option and I was not comfortable, which is why the birthday thing anoyed me so much, it was another sign.
    TBH hes been trying to do it since the beginning, he showed signs of changing and then didnt…..I started to accept (all be it very breifly). Which is probably why I felt PHYSICALLY ill for a few days, no joke I got IBS symptoms, loss of appetite, headache, and a gut feeling that its not going to change even if I change (which I did) he wanted me as an option from the beginning. Its gone to far.
    The reason I went back on breaking up with him was because I thought if I gave it longer and stop accepting, then he will in turn either leave me or step up to the plate. As I felt that I didnt give it enough time. But my time is precious.
    So I’ve just sifted, sadly it took me 4/5 months to get rid. A big improvement on a previous experience though!

    Ladies and guys: Listen to your body! Your gut is a G

    • cavewoman says:

      NK, Listen to your body = words of wisdom: “I felt PHYSICALLY ill for a few days, no joke I got IBS symptoms, loss of appetite, headache, and a gut feeling that its not going to change” so very true! That’s what I learned yesterday. I used to think of that gut wrenching feeling as a thrill, and if it got too painful to pretend it’s pleasurable, I would just shove the whole sensation aside, pour a glass of wine, tell myself to put on a brave smile and not to be such a wuss – I can handle this.
      Well, having been actually nice to myself and having avoided degrading situations just for a few months, when the feeling struck again with yesterday’s encounter — it was unmistakable. This is pain, torment, terror, dysfunction, and misery. Now I know why. Because ignoring danger and putting oneself in a position where we’re certain to be hurt is a very very stressful thing to do. Our minds may be in denial but our body still goes into fight or flight. We feel the panic because deep down we DO know what we’re doing.

  48. Moon says:

    This post struck a chord with me. I still feel like I am waiting around for my EUM. We had been in a relationship on and off for 3 years. In that time, he never told anyone about me. His biggest excuse was my age, I’m 8 years older than him. He moved away for the summer for work experience in April, telling me he loved me and wanted to marry me for 2 months before he left and that he didn’t want to get involved with other girls over the summer. I was stupid and believed him. It lasted about a week before he dumped my by email. I knew he already knew a girl in the place he had moved to and I had suspected he had planned to get with her all along. Well, I was right. He told me I was too clingy, I feel like I was only clingy because I knew deep down he was lying to me before he dumped me and I was right. Since then, he has brought her back here to meet his parents and she has taken him to her country to meet her parents…after only about 6 weeks together. Naturally I’m really upset by this. Been trying to do NC but not doing well at all. Texted him alot this week, with him mostly ignoring them or just being downright mean. On Friday I sent him an email telling him I missed talking to him, the normal him but now I realised that wasn’t the normal him and I guess it was the fake him I missed talking to. He replied saying that maybe we could continue talking but not like before (we used to text/email every evening, all evening) and that he only wanted me to leave him alone because whenever he talked to me he upset me. But he also said he didn’t really miss talking to me because he didn’t have the time or energy after work. After one more email, about him hating work and missing home and parents (it’s funny, he used to complain about parents and where he lived so much when he was living at home and now he can’t wait to get back there!), he hasn’t replied but I’m pretty sure he spends pretty much all weekend, every weekend with his new gf, he’s really predictable like that. So, I’m guessing I’ll hear from him this evening. I find the NC so difficult. When we have broken up before, we’ve done NC and he’s dated other girls but always comes back to me within weeks as if nothing has happened after they’ve seen more sense than me and dumped him. Usually it’s when I’m starting to move on/seeing other people, literally the last time we broke up, he contacted me literally hours after I’d just been on a date and I don’t think he would’ve known about it. I feel like the same thing is going to happen this time, except not until he has to move back here in September and if she’s not willing to move back here with him.

    During the week I met up with the last girl he was with the last time we broke up. They went on about 4 dates and he had already told her that he wanted to marry and have kids with her . This freaked her out and after going out one night to a club with him and him sticking to her like a limpet all night and her male friends warning her about him, she ended it with him. She thinks he’s an AC and I need to forget about him. I know I need to do this but I can’t seem to. I think about him all the time still.

    I realise he tells girls that he loves them to manipulate them not because he actually loves them. He has actually told me before he thinks he’s incapable of love and when I asked him why he kept telling me he loved and wanted to marry me before he left, he said it was his dick talking!
    I don’t know what to do. I know what I should do – NC! But I can’t seem to keep it up. :( Why do I miss such an asshole?

    • cavewoman says:

      Moon, what do you imagine would happen to you without whatever it is that you miss about this asshole?

      • Moon says:

        Cavewoman – A good question! Same fear I’ve always had I guess, that I will spend the rest of my alone and be incredibly lonely! He was my first love and before that I couldn’t be bothered with relationships to be honest.

        • cavewoman says:

          Moon, I know too well what it’s like to project that into the future, and I know exactly how low that kind of thinking can drag you. I also know it’s faulty logic and a self-defeating attitude. It’s what Natalie calls the Last Chance Saloon. — Nat, if you ever dedicate a full blogpost with this title I’m already picturing the image! — The trouble with the Last Chance Saloon is that it’s a dubious, decrepit, foul place. You’re better off outside in the fresh air, honest.

          I used to get irate when people suggested I’d be better off single while I was unhappily but ‘virtuously’ married. I also used to think that my ex and I needed to stay married forever like my parents because being divorced (with children at that!) seemed like such a failure and disgrace. Ugh. In hindsight, it’s being shackled for life to an unwilling partner that feels humiliating. And by the way, I already WAS incredibly lonely while married. Don’t you feel terribly lonely when this dick calls you clingy, or when he tells you he doesn’t miss talking to you daily?

          Moon — I do hope that losing this loser who’s admittedly incapable of love, dumps one woman by phone while he’s already lined up the next one, uses them and plays them off against each other, etc., I do hope that losing him is the worst thing that’ll ever happen to you. Take it one day at a time, without the grand narrative (none of that first and only love, doomed to loneliness etc. garbage) and you’ll see the present moment is always more than bearable. At any given moment, if you’re honest with yourself, there is simply nothing wrong with just being where you are in life. It just is.

    • grace says:

      I read as far as “eight years older”. If you were 30 years older I might understand it but eight? Come on …

      • Moon says:

        grace – yeah, I never had a problem with the age gap but he seemed to think it was a big deal. It was obviously something else that was the big deal but he has yet to tell me what it is!

        • cavewoman says:

          just to make sure you’re not thinking it’s something else about you: it’s his unavailability. He put you on his roster of women because he can disqualify you from a serious relationship (which he’s incapable of and he knows it). He only feels safe associating with women that he can find fault with. It’s a prerequisite for him. That’s all there is to it. Don’t hold your breath for him to explain this to you though!

          • Moon says:

            cavewoman – I still feel like there’s something wrong with me. I spoke to him on Monday. He is in a serious relationship now, he’s actually trying to get an extension on his internship so he can stay there to be with her, even though he still has his final year of his degree to finish. He’s thinking he can just go back to do the final exams. He says there’s nothing wrong with me and that he is the problem…I’m not sure why I can’t believe that though. :-/

          • CC says:

            Moon, you can try doing some work on yourself to discover what your relationship beliefs are and why you would want to win over a guy who clearly doesn’t know his ass from his elbow. Uncover why you would need this type of validation and then you can really make better choices for yourself. For me I had to understand the abandonment of my father left on my self esteem and how it played itself out in my choice in men and insatiable need to win love from the most unlikely sources. Focus on yourself and love yourself. Let this guy go… it will get easier and you will build strength as time passes.

  49. crystalclear says:

    Have to say there is nothing more painful than being someones ‘maybe baby’ and when you persist it is just being a glutton for punishment. It’s one of the most infuriating things…you feel like you are prepared to prioritise them if you had to (given half the chance) yet they can’t even move a ‘bag pack’, footy game or good forbid a load of washing on occassion. If you love someone you’d want to spend time with them no matter what. It always miffed me (when I was to blind to see) but I know I was too cruisy and vulnerable to this classification. ( I used to say “But all the bitches have girlfriends, I don’t get it!?” ha, now I do )

    I never tollerate BC’s though, admittedly I’ve let the odd one slip through but it still amazes me the cheek of guys that do this, if a girl did that they would be calling the police saying you are a stalker! I’ve had to pull the ‘I am not 1800wantashag” and call me during non vampire hours if you would like to either talk about the weather or see me. I had one guy repeatedly phone after 3.30am, I lost count, I seriously thought he only had a pre-paid account to call between 3am and 5am. I gave it to a male friend to answer once while I was out and then he even turned up after getting into a fight on way home from the pub one night all black and blue but still managed to knock for 2.5 hours until I had no choice but to open after my neighbours starting leaving for work! Some people don’t need boundaries and endless options to mess with they need re-programming!

  50. Moon says:

    Oh, and might I add, his new gf is a year younger than me so it was all excuses really. He’s full of excuses. I moved house to be closer to him because of his excuses that I lived too far away then a month after I moved, he dumped me for the first time.

    • Fearless says:

      “He has actually told me before he thinks he’s incapable of love and when I asked him why he kept telling me he loved and wanted to marry me before he left, he said it was his dick talking!”

      You should take him at his word – he is not capable of love. He is showing you – and telling you – who he is (an assclown) – you are not listening.

      “he said it was his dick talking!”

      No, it was him talking. The dick is him.

      The guy gave you the run around for long enough and now that he has a new “girlfriend” (poor sod) you are still pursuing him so that he can give you the run around some more in between seeing his girlfriend. You need to step back from all of this. It’s all crap. NC is for you to remove yourself from the source of your pain, to get clarity, and to get real with yourself. It’s not a ‘break up’.

      • cavewoman says:

        LOL “No, it was him talking. The dick is him.” Sorry to double-post but that’s hilarious *and* insightful. Moon, put yourself in time-out until you gain a different perspective, such as the one modeled by Fearless above!!! It took me months of NC to rehearse, review, and practice my new perspective on the dickitude of my exEUM but it paid off. He can’t ever mess with my head again. Stop being angry with yourself and start being very angry with him. Stop forgiving him and start forgiving yourself. As you can see, there are countless others like you but there is hope for all of us.

      • Moon says:

        Thanks Fearless. I must try harder with the NC. Some days I don’t give a crap about contacting him and then other days it’s all I can think about. I have lots of self-help books that I should be reading to distract myself from all this and thinking about him!

  51. Aura says:

    Miss Option, you asked why a few times and stated that he hasn’t kept his promise to you. I think ultimately if you don’t know where you stand in a relationship, it’s because you don’t stand anywhere in it. If a man is in love with you he will tell you. If he wants to be with you, he’ll do what it takes to be with you. He won’t want to risk losing you to another man. If he’s avoiding you, it’s because he doesn’t have anything positive to tell you, he doesn’t miss you. You are better off not trying to get answers from his perspective, opt instead to live with a few unanswered questions and try to focus on rebuilding your self esteem. One more thing, to ask yourself is why are you twisting yourself into a pretzel, expecting a cheating married man to act honourably to you?

  52. Vanja says:

    Thank you Natalie for this post. I wasn’t going to comment this time, because I am so embarrassed about my behavior last night. But I decided to because I need to stop my insanity spiral! My EUM promised to see me this weekend after sending me a text saying he wanted to take me out on the town and he missed me (I haven’t heard from him for almost two weeks). I waited all night last night for him. He never called or responded to my phone calls or texts. I ended up crying all night and texted and emailed tons describing my pain and begging for him to respond. I would text or email I was angry and in the next text or email, apologize and beg him to just please answer me. I told him I just needed to know why he did this to me (again!). This morning I read them all and they are so pathetic and pitiful I sounded like a desperate fool (I am!). Yet he ignored them all. I am so ashamed. But I know that if he called me this morning and apologized, I know will let him come over. But he won’t. I see now, that whenever he plans to “disappear” for awhile, he always builds me up. I feel so manipulated and used. But I love him so and again this kind of drama hurts me so but excites me. LIke he is the most desired man alive, although the feeling is so very painful. I know I will want to keep texting him all week, begging him to respond and he still won’t. How do you stop and do a NC? How do you get strong enough and not give in to the impulse to text? Phone calls are easy to stop, but emails and texts are hard because you can beg and not feel as vulnerable.
    But, I will keep reading your blogs, because I know you and others have, so I have hope.

    • Fearless says:

      Vanja – there comes a point where you really must realise that although his behaviour is selfish and crappy, he is not the one doing this to you, you are doing it to yourself.
      You must go back and read Nat’s posts that are most pertinent to your own behaviour – e.g. those on emotional unavailability, boundaries, red flags and seeking validation etc. You must begin to see that you have lost all sense of your own value as something independent of him and so are now the woman who thinks so little of herself that she is begging and whining at this guy to validate her.
      This behaviour de-values you in his eyes as well as your own- it’s like queuing up to sign your own death warrant. We cannot expect anyone else to respect us if we have no respect for ourselves. When I think of some of my behaviours with my ex Mr EU I now cringe and die a thousand deaths of mortification! When you feel the ‘cringe’ – you must pay heed! – that’s your self pride kicking in. Dig deep for the cringe factor – and stop blaming him for continuing to cause your distress – you are the real cause of it because it is you who keeps lining up for more of the same; he is EU – he will go back and forth like a boomerang – he is not investing anything in you, so stop investing in him and stop begging for crumbs. Cut yourself off from him, for your own sake and sanity. Good luck.

      • Mango says:

        “When you feel the ‘cringe’ – you must pay heed!”

        Ugh. Yes, the cringing. This is pretty much where I’m at. Wondering….where, how I got so sucked in, and just sick at the thought of letting this go on for so long, when I did indeed have an inkling to back off, several times, a year ago!

        Ugh. Bah. I feel sick about this, knowing now it’s been me along hurting myself. Time to somehow pick myself up…….

    • grace says:

      If I could put you under house arrest I would. Please try to maintain the last shreds of your dignity and not let this man use you anymore. You know that you’ve humiliated yourself yet you are already thinking about the next time you’re going to humiliate yourself. This is you doing this to yourself. Yes he’s a numpty but he’s not exactly hiding it is he? Save yourself!

    • Blaise Parker says:

      You do not love him. That is not love. It is pain.

      When you feel love, you will know. Because you will feel it for yourself first.

    • Sunshine says:

      Love feels good.
      Pain feels bad.

      Love doesn’t hurt, PAIN hurts.
      What you feel for him doesn’t sound like love.
      Real love would see it isn’t in either your or his best interest to continue this painful entanglement and would desire to set you both free from it. The initial break hurts, but it’s the kind of pain one feels when exposing a festering, fetid wound to fresh air and sunlight. Eventually it starts to heal and feels so good you never ever ever want to beat yourself with an AC hammer again.

  53. Sew says:

    “You’re still talking to them and making room for them in your life no matter how poorly they’ve treated you.” So true, I can’t believe I can be so silly. I’ve taken so long to recognise my value so I broke it off with someone a couple weeks ago. 2 weeks of no contact, he contacts me just for an ego stroke, I’m sure now. Instead of telling him to shove it, I told him I missed him…like a fool. He is soooooo not good enough for me and I know it. I need to take the power back, delete him, or tell him to stop contacting me?

    I finally figured out that, I do not actually miss him, I was just confused. You see, we only dated for 3 months but his crazy friends and ex-girlfriends have been following me around in one way or another so I thought, jeez, how am I still dealing with his baggage when I’ve gotten rid of him!? I’m just frustrated he hasn’t taken his baggage with him and I sit here going…the least I deserve is him to clean this mess up and take it with him.

  54. cavewoman says:

    Vanja: you say “I sounded like a desperate fool (I am!). Yet he ignored them all. ” Not quite. He ignored them *especially because* you are acting like a desperate fool. He is obviously turned off by this behavior –who wouldn’t be?– but he might feel sorry for you, which is why he occasionally reciprocates contact, and ends up promising stuff he himself has no desire to do, but saying so temporarily makes one or both of you feel better about the situation. Not a good strategy. He hasn’t figured out that he needs to do NC on you for the sake of you both. But you’ve found BR so you have a head start; can you beat him to it? With this history, nothing good will ever come of you two.

    I hope you don’t misunderstand when I say it is actually a good sign that you feel ashamed after reading your own texts. It tells me you are capable of another perspective. Now, stay with that perspective and do what you must to control your texting impulses, so you have no reason to feel ashamed of yourself again. How, you ask? Just do it.

  55. Lioness says:

    This is my first time posting and I’m so glad I found this site. It has and continues to be really helpful to me. I came off anti depressants last year after being suffering from depression and during the time I was sick my EUM kept in touch. I had the odd text, phone call, he even sent a lovely card one year asking how I was. Last year he got in touch and even though I told him I was feeling vulnerable and not socialising much yet he pursued me really hard until I gave in. We had known each other for over 10 yrs and I wrongly thought he might have changed. (the man is in his 40’s and has never had a stable relationship! what was a I thinking – major red flag! He’s always been charming & ‘nice’- (We had a short relationship 10 yrs ago and I had dumped him because he wouldn’t commit) – unfortuately for another EUM. Of course I was also EU due to my 11 yr marriage breaking up which left me devastated at the time and unable to trust men. Last year we ended having a ‘relationship’ for 2 mths until I confronted him about a woman who was always hanging around. His answer was they are just friends and nothing more and she knows that! After that he started to go ‘cold’ on me and when I said I had feelings for him he withdrew pulling the rug from under me. I sent him a letter about how I felt he had treated me badly. He rang saying how we were friends and was I blaming him! I told him that it he had some responsibility being as two people were involved. I was left reeling and felt like i was slipping back into depression and this would have happened if not for my brilliant counsellor. We still communicated ‘trying the friends’ route (LOL – how crackers was I), then I cut contact as I got fed up with him sending me meaningless texts just to keep a link and it finally dawned on me how cruel he had been given that he had know how ill I had been. I ‘forgot’ (LOL) his birthday on purpose (he had never acknowledge mine!) and hey presto I received an email full of compliments on the night of his birthday! I can’t tell you how freak out I was by that. How narcissitic can you get! I still see him sometimes at dances with his harem one of whom ‘staked’ her claim by coming over to hand him a bag when he came over to talk to me. I felt like telling her to check out BR and wake up! He’s no body’s man,LOL. It has made me cringe with think…

  56. Bri says:

    I don’t think it’s a good thing that every single post on this blog relates to my dating (or lack thereof) life. I have often put myself in the position of being someone’s option, most notable in the two relationships I’ve had in my life with MMs. Even now, being interested in someone who is single but EU, I feel like I’m starting to look desperate…mainly because I feel desperate.

    I know everything in these posts is true, and honestly some of the most insightful advice I’ve ever gotten, but it’s so hard to “do the right thing” when you really like someone. I know putting myself first means putting my foot down, but I don’t want to lose the possibility of this guy one day choosing me…god, I sound just like the example scripting above. Sigh.

    • MissE says:


      I’ve learned that what is meant for you, is meant for you and you don’t have to degrade yourself and bend in all sorts of impossible positions for it! If this man is “meant for you”, then you having some self esteem and boundaries will not stop that, however, if it causes him to run the other way, then he simply isn’t the one for you and you’re actually doing yourself a great service! I know the feeling of getting stuck on someone and believing that you must have them and they are so wonderful and IT and you think that damning your self worth to hell is all worth it so long as you get even a piece of this person…smh….it always turns out badly and then in hindsight you wonder what the eff made you feel they were even worth it at all.

      If you “miss your chance” with him because of your self worth…then it’s safe to say, you NEVER had a chance in hell in the first place. If you end up getting him after waiting around and degrading yourself, as other women have proven, it is short lived OR you spend months and years wasting time, going back and forth, not being sure where you stand, being disappointed, being hurt, being rejected and worst off, STILL LONELY, although this person is supposedly “in your life”….it is the worst.

      In the end the whole thing is counterproductive as you ultimately don’t get what you want from this person, so it’s all a waste and an illusion to think that you can lose your chance with someone who doesn’t want you anyway. As NML has said, it’s not anything that you’re doing that is responsible for how they are, or it’s not that you did have a future but did something to change it…you NEVER did! When you think of it that way, it’s easier to leave it alone and move on and think of it as simply something that isn’t for you and what is custom made for you is still out there.

      • Fearless says:

        Yes, it is hard, but what is it you think you are – a bargain? Don’t up your price to put your foot down, up your price because that is what you are worth!

        Here’s the paradox about losing the possibility of him choosing you: In order to provide him with every possible opportunity of choosing you, you have to be an open option for him, which means you are not presenting a limited edition on sale for one week only; you are offering an unlimited supply that’s on sale all year round – 24/7 – getting cheaper and cheaper as you slash your price lower and lower until you finally fling yourself from the shelf into the ‘clearance’ bucket in an attempt to make the sale – to get chosen. If you place a low value on yourself so will everyone else – and so will he. Your reasoning is utterly counterproductive.

        Are you turning yourself into a doormat because you have deduced he wants to buy a doormat – eventually? And if only you can convince him you are the most effective doormat available to 21st century man the more alluring you will become? Why would the guy fall in love with a woman who demonstrates to him time and time again that she is not worth very much… that she has little to no value… why would he fall in love with (or choose) a doormat? Would you? I suspect you’d rather go for the whole carpet… so will he.
        You choose. Choose YOU!
        Not trying to be harsh with you here…Good luck!

    • Eve says:

      These guys are not worth trying to get answers from about their feelings or their behavior. They just aren’t.

      Go NC and get on with your life. If they aren’t “ready” for a relationship when you are, one that you mutually agree on, then move on.

      I finally realized that I would never take this kind of behavior from my women friends, nor would they put up with it from me. Why do we let these guys get away with it?

      I recently cut my narcissistic sister out of my life because of the emotional damage she has inflicted on me (and my other siblings) with her criticisms, her anger, and her narcissistic behavior. After 25 years of visiting family gatherings with this woman present, I told my siblings I simply won’t do it anymore.

      Since then, it’s been easier to let go of the EUM I had been seeing off and on who was dating other women besides me and using me as his fall back option. I talked to him two weeks ago on the phone and that was the last time we spoke. There was no closure, no nothing to indicate that he wouldn’t contact me again, but it has been over two weeks and he has not phoned or emailed me. This is the longest we’ve gone without any contact in the past year. I assume he’s moved on to some other “victim” and of course didn’t have the balls to tell me he was moving on.

      But it’s been relatively easy not to contact him. I just feel done with him. He can go find someone who is happy to sleep with him while he plays around and dates around, but he’s no longer my problem.

      It’s like emotionally cleaning house. Standing up to my family about my sister’s behavior and refusing to participate any longer gave me the strength to see more clearly the kind of sick relationship I was engaging in with the EUM. It’s a bit of a snowball effect – taking charge of your life and recognizing you’re a person of value and that you don’t want these emotionally damaged people inflicting their pain in your life.

    • Umi says:

      You know what they say Bri, if that guy doesn’t choose you then there are
      Its this assuming that somehow some chinless wonder is ALL there is that leads women to over invest emotionally in idiots! Why do this to yourself, I mean are you really such a talentless, unattractive, no hoper that liking some unavailable man is wll there is. Come on Bri, read what you have written and make a better choice!

    • grace says:

      the someone you really need to like is … yourself. then it becomes way way easier to cut these time wasters off.

      • Fearless says:

        “the someone you really need to like is … yourself. then it becomes way way easier to cut these time wasters off.”

        That is so succinctly put, Grace. It sums it all up in a nutshell. For everyone still struggling to stop being an option – to opt out – this *is* what you need to learn to do: like yourself – and the rest will follow.

  57. Aura says:

    Moon, let him go. Don’t wait for this man. If he treated you poorly in the past, he will treat you poorly again, given the chance. Don’t give him the chance. Don’t expect him to suddenly change, he is who he is. Accept that you’ve wasted a certain amount of time on him. Chalk it up as a learning experience, school of hard knocks. But don’t keep wasting more time and energy on him. Use that time and energy well, as we are not on this earth forever.

  58. Vanja says:

    Thank you all for your encouraging comments and all of you are so right! fearless, I have devalued myself and when I was writing the emails and texts I knew it then and called myself weak even as I sent them.
    cavewoman, funny what you said was what I was actually thinking today for the first time. Maybe he does feels sorry for me and so he promises me what I want to hear? But when he says I love you, he sounds so sincere and he confuses me by saying that.
    grace, I laughed at your “house arrest”, because when I get lonely and start missing him, I wish someone would lock down my computer and phone so I can’t contact him to see if he is ok and let him know I care. Yea, I know he knows I care but I’m just afraid he will forget me. Pathetic! But today I am so mad at myself and sad at how low I have I sunk. So, I have decided today to not contact him again. But I’m afraid I don’t know if can promise that if he contacts me I won’t respond. Even the thought of never being with him again is painful. But like you said Blaise Parker, so is this parody of a relationship. I just can’t decide which pain is the worse.

    • Umi says:


      if you can see No Contact as a period in your life when you give yourself the love and attention that your guy has sucked up, you will suddenly realise its not about missing these arseholes, but about connectinbg with the fact that you have been seriously wasting your life on someone who can’t or won’t be and give you what you want. However, you may just find that you can give yourself a lot once the attention has been taken off him to make yourself feel a whole lot better.

      Give yourself the time and the opportunity to wise up to better chances and decisions you can make that will make you feel good about yourself.

      You mentioned locking up your phone and computer…well I set up an e.mail address similar to my exs and texted my own number whenever I felt the urge to fulfill my contact addiction and when I read these e.mails and texts back to myself they just sounded pathetic, needy, lost, pointless and undermining and whilst contact with them reduces you it makes some gutless creep feel more than. Don’t do this to yourself. Trust me he is not worth it! Why bolster some dicks ego at the expense of yourself!

      Vanja, when you are over your EUM, you will realise that when you wake up in the morning your head is buzzing with things you will do for you and people who care about you. You will be busy with your projects, work, life, friends, you won’t think about that idiot for weeks or even months and you will shake your head and just think what the hell was I thinking to make me overstep my beliefs and boundaries and behave like that.

      No Contact is the time you give yourself to get your life back You’re worth it Vanja!

    • EmLAW says:

      You sent the texts and emails (chalk it up to caring a lot) – water under the bridge now …just don’t do it again!! You must avoid any further humiliation – you deserve to #1 not an option. He is just humiliating you by disappearing for two weeks and trying to push reset! I hated to hear this but healthy women would not give this guy the time of day – you need to get back to that mindset ASAP!

  59. EmLAW says:

    Hard time posting on this one because it hit pretty close to home for me!! I think we all know in our gut (despite what they say) when we have been demoted to an option (I started out as an option being the OW….but his future faking led me to believe otherwise). We minimize, rationalize, and wear rose colored glasses until it becomes painfully obvious exactly what’s going on!

    6 days no contact…despite being very sad, I am feeling pretty good about myself because for once in a year and 1/2 there is no drama in my life. Being alone with myself actually feels good. I can see that MM meant no good and I am happy that he is not having his cake and eating it too! It actually empowers me in a weird way knowing that he is in his marriage (for once in a long time) with just his wife and family (that is where he wants to be after all).

    Spent time with my Mom yesterday (she knows nothing about the MM saga) and she says tells me this really neat saying she heard….Mistakes are mistakes and they are mistakes for there for a reason…not to make them again.

  60. Monique says:

    And ladies–it’s completely true that a MM rarely leaves his wife for the mistress. He just wants it all and when it looks like he is going to lose the wife, he flies into a panic and decides that the marriage is now oh so important. The time the MM becomes available is when the wife says–I’ve had enough of you–and then he will cling to the mistress for a while. And trust me, you don’t want a man like this. He is toxic and whether a jerk or just pathetic, he only knows how to have a relationship with someone to get his own needs met. To me the words–only let him reject you twice were a validation of the end of my marriage to just such an assclown. He had one long term affair–got worked through–OW got really pissed that all of his promises to her didn’t pan out. But years later he started on hurtful, pre-affair behaviors (think flirting, sexting, shopping) until a young thing bit. Never had a chance to get physical before he got booted. The behavior was rejecting even if I didn’t wait around for the full blown affair. Best decision I ever made–but he’s now out there terrorizing other women so watch out!

    And a general note–while I do understand that perfectly nice folks buy into crap and get involved with married men–please do remember that you are hurting and humiliating another woman. You are stealing affection that should be hers. But worse–you are stealing from her the ability to make a decision about her own life because she doesn’t know that her partner has a secret life. She ends up wasting her time with a jerk when she could be moving on–and time is all that any of us has. Make him come clean or you should.

  61. ms.option says:


    I know just how you feel. I send a text, then regret it and if he doesn’t respond, I do it again. It’s a crazy cycle.
    I took one step forward this weekend. I did not send him a Happy Father’s day text, which I would have if I had not been reading BR all weekend. I am sure he expected it because I always acknowledge thing like this. It’s just a little thing but it has made me feel a little stronger.
    I can’t say I won’t make it through today without contact but I made it yesterday. One thing is helping me, is to keep thinking about Sat. when I asked him what was wrong and he said “just working and being a family man”. The family man comment is what got to me. It was like leave me alone this week I’m being a family man. Doesn’t matter that the week before he was referring to his wife as a whore,bitch,flaccid,corn fed freak. It kind of made me sick.
    I know what you mean ,when he tells me he loves me and wants us to have a future he is so believable. But I also have to look at the times he says he keeps hoping his wife will change. If that’s not mixed signals I don’t know what is.

    • EmLAW says:

      I was in the same state of confusion before I opted out six days ago. He just came “fishing” so now would be a perfect time for strength on rejecting them once and for all! It will be better for a few days if we go back but, we will loose more dignity in the process because it will only serve to reconfirm we are ok with being an option. Stay strong and so will I!!

    • Sofie says:

      Ms Option,

      ANYONE who talks that way about a person they promised loyalty to in marriage, is even more than an assclown, he’s a jerk first class. They are not talking about a former teacher or a convicted criminal, they are talking about the person they *still* talk to in *loving ways* and the mother of his children.
      I know the marriage *thing* can get vague in time, but please, nobody should talk about somebody else in those terms. It’s a red flag in itself. And they WILL eventualy talk about you with those words. Call it poor knowledge of language, I don’t care, it illustrates their poor values. Walk away while you can.

      • Sofie says:

        adding to that, when I was first met my EUM, in those first weeks, he called the mother of his child a bitch, he said ‘she just IS one, I can’t help it’. I believed him, I thought ‘oh poor you, poor child’.
        Within2 months I was being called a bitch, a whore, a selfish cunt.
        It’s not only how they speak, it’s how they think. It’s all your fault in their ff up head before you can even proove that it is or isn’t, and they take advantage of your good nature knowing words like that cut like a knife. It’s self esteem killer n° 1. Don’t let that happen.

    • grace says:

      ms option
      the MM would text me sexual texts in the night, then next day on facebook post pics of his outings with his wife and daughter, with comments about being a family man. your MM is not unusual. they all do this crap. thank God and BR that I had enough compassion for myself and for his wife not to actually have sex with the tosser.
      of course he’s sending mixed signals. he’s married.
      you must try to understand that if its all right for you to text a married man, listen to him complain about his wife, and see her child then, one day, when you are married, it must be okay for another woman to chase your husband, spend time with YOUR child behind your back and for the two of them to bitch about you. you may not be active in this – but just listening to it will encourage him.
      We must live a life that’s congruent with our values. And, yes, sometimes it IS hard. what goes around does tend to come around, because once you descend into this mess it does have a knock on effect. You must get yourself out if you want better things.

      • Magnolia says:

        Grace, you’re right about this.

        I am still accepting help from the attached professor, under the auspices of his role of hosting me, and will be staying in the guest room of their place tonight and tomorrow night. I tell myself I have not behaved badly: I have rebuffed inappropriate comments, made it clear I don’t do affairs, and I flatly turned down his latest offer to come by my room at the B&B at midnight with a bottle of pinot (!). This arrangement to stay over is unfortunate, and is part of the fallout of having to come up with accom after the other situation, but basically I’m choosing to overlook what is absolutely right for the sake of saving myself about $300.

        If I were his partner I wouldn’t like to know how he has behaved with me and to know that he gets to spend even a few more hours trying his luck and being fresh. I am going there knowing I’m not doing as I would like done (I’d like any woman that my partner was flirting with to tell him to take a hike).

        I believe that I have behaved and will continue to behave in a way that allows me to look his partner in the eye, knowing that I haven’t done anything wrong and have been discouraging. But then I know what he does, and I have continued to get help from him, even though I know how he behaves. So my behaviour, if it is not encouraging, is at least enabling.


        (As an aside, it is SO clear that he does not give a shit about what is good for me, or he wouldn’t keep hitting on me when we have a work relationship to maintain and I have already said no. It’s really disrespectful to assume if he just keeps at me I’ll suddenly become a girl who will cheat with him. It’s also clear that he just wants a release valve, an option, a little ‘sexy vacay’ from his settled life, not a real relationship with me, though he tries to get me to talk about what *I* want in a *relationship* and asks me very personal things that take a fair bit of manoeuvring to avoid answering. Yuck.)

        I want to say to his partner, your man is a douche, I’m just using your futon for two nights and then I am OUT of here. The more honest thing would be to say that her discomfort is less important to me than my $300. I think I can hold my head up through this, but it is a fine line, and I don’t ever want to put myself in this situation again.

        • runnergirl says:

          Oh dear Magnolia, thank god you are getting out of there in a few days. The midnight pinot offer was so clearly a booty call. The universe is sure giving you a run for your money. Get otta there ASAP and don’t look in your rear view mirror.

          Why are these guys so persistent? Mag says NO and he persists. Em and the other ladies who have posted on this thread, BEWARE…they can reappear.

          So as I’ve posted before, you all must wonder how I find my way to work in the morning but here goes: Why, if they just want a shag, why don’t they just go home and shag their wives or gf”s? If a shag is just a shag to them, they’ve got that at home. Why doesn’t Poethost go home to his gf with the bottle of pinot and shag her? Why didn’t my exMM go home to his wife and shag her instead of coming here? Why doesn’t Ms. Option’s mm just go be a “family man”…that made me gag. Why don’t these idiots just GO HOME and stop screwing us, literally and figuratively? This can’t just be about getting laid and a ego stroke, can it?

          I guess the most important question may be why do we tolerate this crap? Family man, indeed!

          • runnergirl says:

            Opps, again. I do not mean to imply that I disagree that these jokeamos aren’t just out looking for a shag and an ego stroke. It gets frustrating or perhaps enlightening to read how many wonderful folks end up options and believing that their situation with an “honest” cheat is unique. Just venting as I read your posts and venting because I was/am there too. Additionally, I’m coming to grips with the fact that my honest cheat wasn’t honest.

    • Fearless says:

      Ms option,
      I am sorry, but the only person seeing mixed signals here is you. He tells you he was busy working and being a family man and you read this as:
      “It was like leave me alone this week I’m being a family man.”

      It wasn’t “like” that.
      It is that.

      “Doesn’t matter that the week before he was referring to his wife as a whore,bitch,flaccid,corn fed freak.”

      Well, it should matter. And not for the reasons you think. None of us should be an option at all, never mind an option for such an appalling character as this one who talks about women in that way. That alone should tell you everything you need to know about him. Ugghh.

  62. Vanja says:

    Umi, I know you are right. I am just so scared of the pain that I have to go through to get there. My sister tells me I have to just let him go becasue he is the type that will keep coming around at his convenience. He always comes back saying he is sad, missing me and needing my comfort (and sex), He tells me how cruel the world has been to him. He writes really beautiful poety about his pains and I take him and them on as my own. But I like your email to yourself though. I could write my needs but never send them.
    EmLaw, I want your strength! I will try very hard to not contact in these weeks I know he will be silent. I am just so hurt that I mean so little to him. It feels like knife is in your chest when you keep giving and he keeps taking.
    oh ms. option, congratulations! That was very strong of you. I admire anyone who has done or is doing it. I don’t know if I could have done that if he was a father. His birthday is next month and if I haven’t heard from him by then, I don’t know if I won’t send him a card and call. The mixed signals are so confusing and hurtful. Why can’t they just love or not love? Sometimes, I wonder if this isn’t just a sadistical game to them? Maybe if I keep thinking that, I’ll get mad instead of sad and keep the no contact? I really wish…

    • EmLAW says:

      I get really nice poetry also…but this time the humiliation of being downgraded to an option is my strength and he is trying, as we speak, to push the reset button again. I refuse to let him humiliate me anymore. Not to be mean but if they wanted to be with us they would be and nothing would keep them away. They take little breaks from us when things are good at home and then when things get bad or they sense they are loosing their hold on us (sex and ego boosts as needed) they hit the old reset button. Be warey of his actions they speak way louder than words….there is nothing attractive about being a doormat (people wipe their dirty shoes on doormats – and doormats get thrown away when they are too dirty and beat up) and that is what we are conveying if we keep putting up with their nonsense. I am literally killing inside but I am going to just once not do what he expects – since doing what he expects leads to just as much pain.

      • Minky says:

        Hey Em,

        So happy to hear you’ve gone NC finally! Well done!

        The reason they hit the reset button and disappear is because they know they can get away with it. No decent man in their right mind would deliberately ignore a woman and then strut back into town as if nothing had happened! Think of the good men you know (friends, family, other people’s partners) and ask yourself if *they* would behave like that. It will show you plainly how lacking these EUMs are, for all their charm, intelligence and sexual prowess.

        I had a major ephiphany one night while out with a friend who was with a great guy (and she still is). This was after going NC for a week – we were out dancing and she mentioned that she missed her boyfriend. I told her she should text him and ask him to join us if that was the case, so she did. Within the hour, he was there! I actually turned into ‘drunk crying girl’ because i realised that the ex EUM would never ever be that for me. He didn’t have it in him. It was then that i knew for sure that i wanted someone to be with properly. Who will show up within an hour if i ask them to come and be with me.

        I can’t imagine my friend’s boyfriend (or my current bloke for that matter) ever going awol with no explaination. It’s just not something a good person does. They are not good people, these men. Not really. They have good qualities, sure, but they are not good people inside, where it counts. And it’s not because we ‘mean so little’, it is because they lack so much.

        It’s not hard to be a decent human being. To not treat people like they don’t matter. Some people just don’t have that part of the brain!! :)

        • grace says:

          This reminds me of a friend of mine who was really upset cos she and her boyfriend had a row and didn’t contact each other for … nearly two days. Ha. I would REGULARLY go way longer than that without hearing from my ex.
          Just goes to show the crumbs we accept.

        • Fearless says:

          In again!

          “And it’s not because we ‘mean so little’, it is because they lack so much.”

          Yep. Finally. I actually get that.

          I was always telling my EU that he treated me as if I didn’t matter. I can see now that when you act like you don’t mind, a guy assumes – rightly – that you don’t mind… but what you need to get is that there’s a very fine line between ‘you don’t mind’ and ‘you don’t matter’. First I didn’t mind. Then I didn’t matter.

      • cavewoman says:

        Poetry is a fraud.

    • Fearless says:

      “I am just so hurt that I mean so little to him.”

      The ‘so hurt’ that you should feel is that you mean so little to yourself.

      This I think is the trap we fall into in becoming an option for these men who are simply using that option to have their needs met, as an when it suits them. That is the deal we offer them! And then we complain when they take us up on it!

      We are so hurt that we mean so little to him – we keep trying to mean something to him – we are so hurt that we mean so little to him again – we keep trying some more to mean something to him – we are so hurt again that we mean so little to him… and on and on it goes… unless we realise that we are in this horrid cycle not because we mean so little to him, but because we mean so little to ourselves.

  63. sweetpea says:

    These articles hit the nail on the head. It sounds like Natalie personally knew the last guy i dated, who surprise surprise turned out to be EUM. He even had the cheek at the start of telling me we were at the same point emotionally and how well connected we were. Even though it was short lived – a month, it hit me hard as for the first time it wasn’t just about the sex. I could talk to this guy for hours, he seemed very sweet, genuine, cute and displayed really low self esteem (a characteristic you think would make him sensitive). So i did the typical thing and clung on for another couple of months hoping that the guy i first met would surface again and not the guy who when i asked him his reasons for not wanting a relationship with me managed to give amiguous answers including that he couldn’t possibly start a relationship with someone he couldn’t tell what they were thinking / that they didn’t invite him to their birthday meal with my family and this hurt him. He would always follow it up with a mixed message such as his feelings had changed recently and he actually wanted to see more of me. It took me to push it via a text message this weekend but he finally just said the truth that he found be very attractive and we got on incredibly well, but that was it. I can’t lie, i do feel hurt, half by him and half by myself. I’ve downloads Natalie’s 2 books, thank god she has such a brilliant site!!!

  64. annied says:

    I’ve played the waiting game. Sometimes it’s hard not to beat myself up over this crap. But I do find that I’m getting better at turning bad thoughts OFF and not spinning. Things will pop into my head, and I’ll get all angry about stuff he did or said and ultimately end up saying, ‘Eh, who cares?’ It’s over!

    Then at those times when I start wondering if he misses me or whatever, I take out my cell phone and read the messages (there are 4) that I saved from him. Helps clear my head of any delusions about this person. He is who he is who he is who he is … forever and ever, Amen.

  65. ms.option says:

    I’m not defending him but he is actually talking about a convicted criminal.She has been arrested twice in the last 4 months for shop lifting. I know it is a messed up situation. She is definitely not the sweet, little wife. I know all this for a fact. The arrests are published in a paper we have here. There are so many things she has done and every time he says that it’s the last straw but every time all she has to do is cry and promise to change and he takes her back. He is obviously addicted to her drama. And he can’t use the kids as an excuse because he gets the kids every time they separate due to her history. It’s all very dysfunctional.

    • grace says:

      ms option
      should you actually get this booby prize of a man I very much doubt this wifey is going to roll over and play dead. Cue emotional blackmail, stalking, sexual shennanigans, the full works. I understand your need to defend your position, hell I’ve done it too, but the more you say the less I like this, and the more I think DANGER WILL ROBINSON.
      They’re married. She’s a criminal. They have a daughter. They break up and get back together repeatedly. You get dropped and ignored and lied to. Why are you there?
      She cries and promise to change and he takes her back. But you do the same. He cries and promises stuff and you take him back.
      You have to see your part in this or you’ll just be helplessly waiting. And you don’t even know what you’re waiting for cos you’ve already said you never asked him to leave his wife.
      If he’s fed up with being married to her, then he should get a divorce. Clearly, something about this works for him. Don’t think about it too much, it’s not pretty! Run.

    • NML says:

      Ms Option, you are actually defending him and whether you recognise it or not, this drama circus is part of what you use as a justification for remaining involved and for making excuses for him.

      Excuses lessen the responsibility for something.

      If you’re *that* worried about him, get out of the fricking way and let him go and handle his business.

      Fact is, light-fingered tealeafing shoplifter or not, he’s *her* husband and they have a child together. This is none of your business.

      The Shoplifter and the Poor Poor Me Cheater – what a saga.

      You are overempathising with his position and you pity him for being with his itty bitty tealeafing wife. That’s why you’re so scornful of her and lend an ear to him slagging her off – you think she’s what stands between you and him.

      She’s not – it’s him.

      You are blaming *her* so that you can remain in denial about *him*. That’s what people do when they want to hold on at all costs and don’t want to see the truth.

    • Fearless says:

      Ms Option,
      she sounds more like a poor messed up soul than a “convicted criminal” to me. That is just emotive language. She is also a human being with feelings as valid as yours (one might say more valid, even, as you are the one trying to get with her husband). Unless she is poverty stricken and struggling to just survive, the petty, needless shoplifting is a most likely a symptom of deep psychological distress and a cry for help (and no wonder!). Sounds to me she is more to be pitied than scorned and does not need or deserve your vitriol or that of her foul-mouthed husband. Nat’s post (below) is exactly correct. So I’ll say no more.

  66. Trinity says:

    The below really spoke to me from my last relationship.
    You play The Good Girl/Guy and suckerdart yourself to them as Friend of the Year post breakup so they can recognise your greatness, validate you, and hopefully see the error of their ways.
    Im happy to report that the x ive had to work with for two years left today :) Although it feels odd and has resurfaced some memories, its nothing i cant handle and i guess its natural, even though it ended long ago we have been connected in an odd way still through anxiety, anger etc. A connection is a connection bad or good. I look forwards to not having to see him 5 days per week but at the same time im kinda glad i did it hard because its really made me tough and ive learnt some really valuable lessons.
    Peace XXX

  67. fitnessfreak says:

    ” and its not because we mean so little…it is because they lack so much ”
    AMEN :) …… I will take that little sentence today and pin it to my fridge…..and then my BRAIN !!!
    … today I will obsess on that phrase….and not on HIM …… thanks x

  68. Vanja says:

    You and everyone here who says we have not valued ourselves are so right! Last night with many tears and in a lot of pain, I wrote out every broken promise, disappointment, disappearance and wrong things he say or did that I could remember. And I was amazed at the number and what I put up with. I remembered my begging and crying and his flippant answers, lies, false sincere promises and even his anger that I wanted more. I remembered how I always begged to him to come back or was so overjoyed to accept his flimsy excuse when he came back on his own. So much drama. And all his poetry is about his pain, never caring about anyone else’s. All his distress is over him, never my pain and sadness. The only time he is “into” me (figuratively and literally) is when we are intimate. Then he seemed to care and loved me so much. And that was my hook and drug.
    So, I am trying to keep to the no contact. I plan to reread many times what I wrote last night every night and to keep remembering how many times he has hurt and continues to hurt me.
    I see the cycle. Right now I’ll admit, I’m missing him very much and it hurts so badly, that I feel physical ache. But I’ll keep telling myself, what am I missing? Just a different kind of pain. Wish me luck.
    Thank you Natalie! I’ve read most of your old blogs and will keep reading. I need your wise words and others’ to help me get through this.

    • EmLAW says:

      Vanja – Hate to tell you Day 7 of NC…it isn’t any less painful but I believe its soooo necessary. Luckily I started keeping a journal about a year ago so I have plenty of “evidence” to support what I am doing. Its all so humiliating – what we have been managed down to…when you think what it was like when it started.

  69. Cinderella says:

    When you grow up emotionally battered and with no self-esteem, you don’t even KNOW you don’t have it. Reading your blog is like going to colleeg to be educated on all that you should have been taught at home – and weren’t. Thank you Nat.

  70. Karen says:

    This post was very difficult to read as I can see so many parallels with my own relationship.
    I met my man when he was fresh out of a breakup from a very intense 9 month relationship. He was desperate to marry the girl but she couldnt because her family wouldnt accept him. He was a mess, even talked about her in his sleep but I helped him through it and even let him move in with me when he lost his job and started having health problems. He didnt like the colour of my hair so I changed it. I thought I dressed a ‘little too slutty’ so I got new clothes.
    Virtually from the time we started dating he was cheating on me with his ex. I found it hard to believe because when they broke up he had emailed a lot of very intimate pics of her, relationship details (including the abortion she had) and texts she had sent him to some of her friends and a man her family were trying to set her up with. Quite what she did to deserve that I don’t know but it was pretty dangerous given how strict her family and culture are but I guess she must have forgiven him. He also hacked into her email 6 or 7 times over the next few months and changed all her passwords. I know all this because I overheard him telling one of his friends.
    I saw his loving emails and texts to her and I kept begging him to stop seeing her as it was hurting me so much. I kept asking him how things could work between us if he was in contact with his ex all the time. He himself said I made his life very easy. I’ve never even questioned him about why he doesnt seem interested in seeing his young son from his first marriage because he doesnt like talking about it as he hates his ex wife.
    He thought I was just upset because I was having visa issues and I was looking to him to help me stay in the country but it wasnt that. I never expected that from him, I genuinely loved him and wanted us to work.
    For 9 months he carried on with her even after we got married. I’m still not sure why he married me, perhaps to piss off his ex who was also about to be engaged to a man she didnt love but her parents approved of.
    Finally I had enough, called her and told her to back off. She told me all the derogatory comments he had made behind my back some of which did ring true. With her on speaker, he told me he didnt love me and I hung up the phone on her.
    Since then, they havent spoken and she has totally dropped…

  71. Australia says:


    Just told my ex that I can’t sleep with him anymore because I deserve a full relationship, and he got mad and said that he thought we were seeing each other and that I am making this all about me, and how he does want me and thats not all about sex.
    We have been on and off for over a year now.
    It ended really bad with a car ride where he got angry and we got to this shopping area, and he said to leave him there because he did not want to ride back with me, or be my friend, or sleep with me again.

    I did not want this drama. I swear. I wanted to stay friends, just that don’t sleep with each other.

    Now i feel like the bad person for going back and forth with him on the sex thing, and that he was trying. Maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. Maybe I should’ve just kept hanging out and sleeping with him. Maybe I completely overreacted. I miss him already and feel like I am the one to blame for all this drama.

    • NML says:

      Australia, I think if you read this back to yourself when you’ve calmed down, you’ll realise how utterly ridiculous this whole thing is.

      Do you know when it’s not just about the sex and it’s not a casual relationship? When you’re *in* a relationship, it’s not ambiguous and it’s verbally stated that you’re both in a relationship. All this mofo has done has turned the tables round on you and made it about *him*.

      In case he’s forgotten, you’re not in a relationship and the only person you have to concern yourself with is *you*. This is *your* discomfort*, *your* boundaries, *your* feelings, *your* needs, *your* perspective.

      If he *was* your friend (you do know that friendship doesn’t involve effing one another?), then it should be no big deal that you said that you don’t want to have sex. You’re not a bad person for going back and forth about the sex thing but just trust me, you’ll do yourself no favours if you flip flap once again. Stick to your guns. If you wanted a casual relationship, you wouldn’t be having this conversation. Let it be. So what if he’s upset? He’s only throwing his penis toys out of the pram. Let things calm down and do not start sleeping with him to appease him – that’s not a friendship; that’s pure f*ckery.

      • Natasha says:

        Agreed! People who are real friends and care about you and respect you don’t want you to do anything that hurts you, violates your boundaries, etc. Those of us who have been in crappy relationships, more often than not our friends are all, “You need to drop this loser.”. Can you imagine if your friends were instead trying to browbeat you/railroad you into staying in a bad situation with an assclown? Makes no sense, right? Guys like this treat the word “friend” like it means “person around on the sidelines giving me what I want, while I contribute nothing”. Someone, please, send these assholes a dictionary!

  72. ms.option says:

    I am not defending myself. I try not to say anything about his wife to him because I know that I can’t be neutral on that subject. When he asks my opinion I tell him I can’t be neutral so it is better not to say. I do not know what her problems are. I know about 3 years ago she was convicted for forging a prescription and the day after she was released she was arrested for filing a false police report. She is addicted to painkillers. I know one of the times he put her out recently was because when he was working out of state he found out she wasn’t taking their daughter to school. Regardless of all that, I see he is very passive-aggressive. He was always talking about wanting her to change. But I remember one time a couple of months ago being with him and she called crying and saying she needed some pain pills and I sat there and listened to him tell her he would get them for her. I don’t know if it was because he was feeling guilty for being with me or if this is how he gets his way.
    I just know I am addicted to him and right now I am wanting to contact him so bad just to feel I still mean something to him. When I type it all out it all seems so sick. Why do I need validation from him so bad?

    • NML says:

      Ms.Option, I’m just failing to see what you’re addicted to? You don’t have anything with him bar a few crumbs.

      You see that woman, that wife of his who you can hardly contain your judgement of? That could be you. I mean there you are saying you’re addicted to him and she’s seemingly addicted to painkillers – they’re both compulsive and destructive behaviours and you both seem to be dependent on this shit of a man. OK so you’re not out necking pills or filing shady police reports, but you are involved with a married man, allowing yourself to be an option, hooked on drama, and dining off crumbs. There isn’t that much difference between you both. This man has a pattern that he’s playing out with both of you. One woman losing her mind begging him for pills. One woman losing her mind begging him to call or send a text message. Again and again.

  73. ms.option says:

    I’m with you. I’m just on day 3 and struggling every minute. I haven’t heard from him and if I do that will be the real test. I actually am having panicky feelings, is this normal?

    • NML says:

      Yes – it’s called withdrawal and the less you keep busy and the more you hang around in hope that he *will* call, is the worse you will feel. If you’re claiming to do NC to play games, don’t waste your time. Make up your mind about what you’re doing and if you do want to let go, you must be ready to cold turkey it out.

  74. ms.option says:

    That is true NML. I am no different. I guess I have felt like crumbs were better than nothing. I don’t know why. I wish I could be a confident person.

  75. deege says:

    EmLAW, I know exactly how you feel. I did it for 8 long years of torturing myself. Please, you are worth so much more. You really have got to listen. I am finally free. If he came to the door today, I would be able to leave him on the doorstep. I am free. It took every bit of the past six months, daily reaffirming of who I am, and what I deserve in life to become free. He even texted me at mothers day, the five month mark…..I did not answer, nor acknowledge him. I am free. This site will help you. Read everything! Read it daily. Free yourself! With much love, Deege.

  76. deege says:

    And finally, fill your life with more of what YOU gave up, what YOU put aside, what YOU want to do. There are gifts and a life inside of you that waits for you to notice it. I wish you every good thing.

    • EmLaw says:

      Thank you deege – knowing so many other have survived the DETOX and are happier makes it completely bearable!

  77. Vanja says:


    It’s day 4 for me and I am miserable.! The problem with NC is that every second is torture! He doesn’t even know it’s day 4. He doesn’t even know I doing a NC probably. He might wonder for a moment how come I haven’t texted or emailed, but I doubt he feels he misses it that much. So, I suffer trying to get to a time where I won’t feel any pain. Will I? I hate this! I’m not doing this to make he miss me and come back, I really want to be free. But I’m the only one suffering and I’m not sure if I can go through this pain everyday and night and knowing he isn’t feeling a little pain or that I mattered at all. Arrgh! I wish I could take a “forget him” pill and get this sh**t over with. :(

    • EmLaw says:

      Same exact situation for me….and believe it or not I wrote those same words in my journal….I used the four days he couldn’t manage contact with me as the first four days of no contact. You have to resign yourself to the fact that they won’t miss YOU they will miss the ego boosts and all of the other nice things you did for them. They do freak when they feel they have lost us…that is where I am at now – sitting on my hands. They might already have another YOU lined up for all we know. I told myself not knowing that is a great example of how we don’t have anything in reality. It is not us…we could be the absolute most gorgeous, perfect person and still not be good enough for them because they are just not capable!!

      Try to be strong with me….they simply don’t deserve the benefit of us. I discovered that low self esteem brought me down to his level (we are far above them) because otherwise their treatment wouldn’t kills us inside. They are like an addiction… do yourself a favor and read the drama crack post. Someone on BR said that healthy women wouldn’t put up with be ignored for a day let alone four days. I don’t know about you but I am better than that sort of pathetic treatment. I am not optional and his treating me like I am (because I used to allow it) killed me inside. Not anymore – I have BR strength!!

    • Fearless says:


      “I’m not doing this to make him miss me and come back…”

      Vanja – your comment is all about your angst about him not noticing you are 4 days of no contact and if he’ll notice and feel the pain and when he’ll notice and feel tha pain… it’s planet him all the way, for him and for you. So I think if you are honest with yourself you will know that you are doing most likely what we all do when we begin NC – we actually hope it’ll make a difference to him… that he’ll notice we are NC and spontaneously combust into a guy who gives a shit. He won’t. He is a self-serving, self-centred, self-absorbed shyster. Until you start believing that you deserve better than what this berk is offering you then what you are experiencing *right now* IS your future. Try to get that. Whatever you got from this guy is as good as it gets. There is NO more to get. Go off somewhere, do something for yourself that you enjoy, tap into who you actually are and want for your life and aspire to in life without this guy messing you up and messing you around and focus only on YOU and what is right and good for you – and it is NOT him! It really really isn’t him. Let him go.

    • Bewildered says:

      Also forget the NC to fuel increased desire in them…it only makes you more of a pathetic option.

  78. Sue C says:

    Natalie, I think what is amazing is that you put into words, the answers to the frustrations and anger that we feel but can’t quite verbalize! I know what I want–to be in an equal relationship with someone who values me–but I could never come up with the words to express those desires. What makes me sad is that year after year the idea of being someone’s one and only seems elusive–especially here in the U.S. where both men AND women seem to accept the idea that men have so many “options” that it is crazy for a woman to require that a man make a choice.

  79. Spinster says:

    One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing that “I’m so busy” excuse. To me, it signifies that the person who says it thinks that their life is just SO important and to be fit into that person’s schedule is SUCH a privilege.

    Oh please.

    EVERYONE has things to do, even those who are disabled. Some people may be busier than others, but EVERYONE’s got something to do. For a person to think that they’re just SO unique & their time is just SO precious is egotistical, selfish, and (dare I say) corny.

    So when someone {whether it’s a romantically-interested man or a fickle friend or family member (male or female)} uses that excuse with me now, I dismiss them completely. I am NOT an option, dammit. Even if I don’t tell them outright, they’ll know by my actions. Actions speak louder than words, so more often than not, nothing even needs to be said. I opt to opt OUT. You are the weakest link, goodbye. 😉

  80. had_enough says:

    I just want to throw-up when I think about how I prostituted my self-esteem for that clown.

  81. Epiphany says:

    This is what I truly needed today…This article literally slapped me across the face and essentially woke me up! I have been his option for 4 years and I have no one to blame for it but myself.
    What the hell have I been doing, when did I allow him to downgrade me from a live-in girlfriend, to a sometime dinner partner and an ego stroke?
    I have waited for him to change, bet on his potential and hoped that he would figure it out if I gave him enough space and time.
    I literally do not recognize myself anymore and I truly do not like who I have had to become in order to “fit” into his world.
    Well, it stops today!
    I can’t be his option any longer. I have got to let go of this illusion of a relationship and call it what it is. Nothing!
    We have nothing. I will never be a “priority” for him if he knows that I am ok with being “optional” in his life.
    I have literally been flying on stand-by waiting for him to suddenly realize my worth and miraculously upgrade me to first-class, what an actress I have become!
    I choose NOT to be his option any longer. If he can’t figure that out then it’s not my job to help him figure it out.
    Thanks Natalie for such an insightful post.
    Starting NC today and it’s going to hurt like hell, but in the end I’ll have regained something I’ve lost..Not a bad, non-exisitent lie of a relationship but my self respect, which means more to me than anything…

  82. annied says:

    “You’ll never be able to move on with your life, feel a sense of personal contentment and forge a happier, mutually fulfilling relationship with someone that values you, if you’re option for someone else that doesn’t or only values you for what they can get out of you on their terms.”

    It’s sunk in Natalie … I’m almost FREE!

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.

30-Day Project: Dealing With Tricky Family Members

Tired of dealing with family drama or waiting for them to spontaneously combust in to changed people? Need to find ways to step back and take proactive steps to redefine the relationship from your end? This 30-Day project will help you do just that.